See what happens when you elect the “conservatives” to government? Sending kids to jail.
Attorney-General Robert Clark has asked the Sentencing Advisory Council for advice on sentencing protocols for serious-injury offences that involve ”gross violence”.
He has committed to introducing a mandatory two-year minimum sentence in a youth detention facility for 16 and 17-year-olds found guilty of recklessly causing serious injury and intentionally causing serious injury when committed with ”gross violence”.
(Note that this isn’t just for intentionally causing serious injury, it’s also for recklessly causing serious injury.)
Yeah, brilliant. Rather than redirecting impressionable kids away from offending behaviour, let’s lock them in to a life of crime. Let’s force the courts to send them to be trained by the more serious offenders in prison so that when they come out, still young, they’ll have developed whole new skills in even worse behaviour.
Revealingly, Robert Clark hasn’t even tried to present us with any evidence that mandatory jail sentences for young offenders work in reducing crime, probably because it doesn’t exist.
Obviously the gullible idiots who believe the Herald Sun spin think this is a wonderful idea that will keep them safe – despite the research indicating quite the opposite – and when it actually results in an increase in crime, they’ll demand we increase mandatory sentences even further. THIS BEING TOUGH ISN’T WORKING, WE MUST DO MORE OF IT!
Meanwhile, the calls by the Children’s Court to properly fund bail support programs that actually do get good results fixing these kids up, continue to be ignored…
UPDATE: Greg Barns in today’s Crikey: Mandatory jail terms for young to cost lots, fail to cut crime:
While Clark is happy to send more young people to prison, in Texas — yes hard-core, conservative Texas — Republican governor Rick Perry has joined with Democrats a fortnight ago to pass a law that will close three of the state’s 10 youth detention centres and put the savings into rehabilitation. It costs about $A270 to house youth offenders in prisons in Texas but only $A70 to have them participate in a structured program of rehabilitation and support. No wonder fiscal conservatives in Texas love it…
There is a realisation in the US that, as Anthony Barkow, a former senior prosecutor put it recently, “juvenile offenders have diminished culpability: a view supported by science — and common sense, as anyone can attest to who remembers his or her years as a teenager”. Placing them behind bars, irrespective of the circumstances of each case and without having regard to their mental capacity at the time of offending, is simply a recipe for higher recidivism rates on release and the high cost to taxpayers that goes with that and the incarceration.
Did Robert Clark even talk to any people who deal with young offenders?