The West

The latest in a string of mandatory sentencing laws to be introduced by the State Government will see assaults on youth custodial officers punished with a three month term in jail or detention.

The announcement proposing amendments to the Criminal Code comes days after young offenders went on a violent rampage at the State’s only juvenile detention centre, Banksia Hill.

Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper today said the decision was made following a spike of attacks on YCOs in 2012.

“While the approval to draft this legislation was sent to State Cabinet before the incident at Banksia Hill on Sunday, the events at the juvenile detention centre certainly highlighted the need for the new laws,” Mr Cowper said in a statement.

“This Government will not tolerate violent behaviour in our detention centres.”

He said the Government sought to introduce the laws “as a matter of priority”.

The State already has mandatory jail terms for assaults against police, ambulance officers, transit guards, court security officers and prison officers, and drivers who kill or injure anyone while fleeing police.

Critics of mandatory sentencing say it removes the discretion of the judiciary.

But the State Government says there has been a 28 per cent drop in reported assaults against police since the offence attracted a mandatory jail term.

The West Australian

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