Qld considers e-monitoring young offenders

Nick Gibbs
·2-min read

The use of monitoring devices for young offenders is under consideration in Queensland, two years after it was recommended as part of a review into the state's youth justice system.

Examining the use of electronic monitoring as an alternative to youth detention was one of 77 recommendations in a report by former police commissioner Bob Atkinson.

There have been calls for a youth crime crackdown after a Brisbane couple and their unborn baby were killed when a teenager allegedly crashed a suspected stolen car last week.

Much of the debate has centred on how and when young people charged with a crime are given bail.

Acting Premier Steven Miles confirmed the recommendation was not to use monitoring devices before sentencing.

"I think it's important to stress that when Bob Atkinson made that recommendation, it was as a possible alternative for detention. It didn't relate to use while on bail, but we can obviously consider that now," he said.

Asked why the government did not pursue it at the time, Dr Miles said the decision was made at an agency level and the technology was advancing.

"Now that has been put forward again, we'll consider it," he said.

Making breach of bail an offence is at the centre of the state opposition's criticism of the youth justice system.

"If you don't restore breach of bail on day one, you're not fair dinkum, because that is where the root of the problem is," Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said.

"It has to be restored for the sake of everybody in the community, including the young offenders who just will not pull into line because they are seeing a system that treats them with kid gloves."

Of the report's 77 recommendations, Dr Miles said 76 had either been implemented or were in the process of being implemented.

The Queensland government is considering electronic tags and harsher sentences for repeat offenders, as suggested by the police union.

Police Minister Mark Ryan favours a broad approach that goes beyond issues of policing and punishment.

He said statistics showed most recidivist offenders were Indigenous, indicating that a more holistic approach was needed.

"They don't just wake up and become criminals," Mr Ryan said on Tuesday.

"There is a broader story there about the Closing the Gap processes around addressing some of those challenging backgrounds that obviously in some people manifests in criminal offending."