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Keep 17 year olds out of Queensland adult prisons!

This petition had 440 supporters

Queensland is the only state in Australia to treat 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system. This year marks 21 years since the Government promised to cease this practice, yet we enter 2013 with children still being locked up in adult prisons.

The recent shameful comments by the Attorney General about rape in adult prisons have only sharpened focus on 17 year olds being incarcerated in these prisons.

This is a travesty and abuse of child rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The situation has been condemned by Queensland's own Anti-descrimination Commissioner, as well as the Queensland and National Children’s Commissioners and The Queensland Law Society.

In 1992 when the Juvenile Justice Act was passed by Parliament, the State Government said: “It is the intention of this Government, as it was of the previous Government, to deal with 17-year old children within the juvenile, rather than the adult system, as per the Kennedy Report into prisons. This is consistent with the age of majority and avoids such children being exposed to the effects of adults in prisons, thereby increasing their chances of remaining in the system and becoming recidivists. This change will occur at an appropriate time in the future.”

These intentions still ring true today. Eighteen is the age of majority in Queensland and throughout Australia, yet 17 year olds in Queensland continue to be exposed to the deleterious effects of adult prisons. It is time to make this change and stop treating children as adults in the criminal justice system.

After 21 years, it is time for the juvenile justice system to include 17 year olds.


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