Qld to keep controversial youth crime laws

Controversial youth justice laws will remain in Queensland despite a review showing children committed more crimes, and more serious crimes, after they were passed.

The laws have denied the presumption of bail for children caught committing serious offences while on conditional release and allowed courts to fit them with GPS trackers since April 2021.

A review by former police commissioner Bob Atkinson was unable to determine if the laws had reduced serious, repeat youth offending in their first six months.

However, his report found children on bail had committed more crimes, particularly serious crimes, and service delivery and advocacy organisations thought the laws hadn't worked.

Lawyers raised concerns children were pleading guilty for crimes they didn't commit or were being locked up for minor first offences.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the laws will stay regardless because the public expects tough measures against crime.

"The best way to break that cycle of crime is to get a job, but in some instances, for community safety, there has to be an additional measure," she told reporters on Wednesday.

"I don't make those decisions, the courts make those decisions.

"We give the courts the laws, and the courts are actually utilising those laws."

The Atkinson report found while more children were refused bail, those on bail committed more serious crimes in the six months after the laws passed compared with the same period in 2019.

"The volume of offending by young people while subject to bail has increased as has offending categorised as serious," it said.

More than eight in 10 service delivery and advocacy organisations thought GPS trackers were "not effective", the report said, while almost 60 per cent said removing the presumption of bail hadn't worked.

Lawyers also raised concerns that some children were pleading guilty to crimes they didn't commit or in cases where evidence was inadequate.

The report said lawyers also warned children may have been imprisoned for first-time, low-level offences "unlikely to warrant a detention order".

Despite the inconclusive findings, Mr Atkinson backed the laws because they had community support.

"With no disrespect to academic research, none whatsoever, I think the jury was well and truly still out on this," he told reporters.

"And I think if the public is supportive, and the police have been responsible, then I think it's a worthwhile thing to do."

Opposition justice spokeswoman Laura Gerber said the report had been released eight months too late, and the data was dated.

"How do you propose to fix a youth crime wave if you're not prepared to shine a light on it, if you want to hide reports, if you want to bury them so they're stale," she told reporters.

"It just tells me everything that I need to know about the state government, they've seriously given up on trying to fix the youth crime wave."