Aboriginal and legal groups horrified at secret plan to throw more children in jail

by | Mar 14, 2024 | The Big Story, Wire

Aboriginal and legal groups have been shocked by a NSW plan for harsher juvenile justice. Instead of curbing youth crime the groups say these will instead worsen community safety.

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Aboriginal and legal groups are expressing shock and outrage at a clandestine proposal to introduce new and punitive law and order reform. These include modifications to bail conditions and other measures the groups say will result in more children being locked-up and the increasing incarceration of children. 

On Tuesday morning the Daily Telegraph reported NSW Cabinet ministers had signed off on a ‘sweeping package designed to stop a youth crime’ wave, including bail changes and new “intervention” measures.

Vulnerable groups, including People with Disability and especially aboriginal children, are likely to be particularly exposed to such measures. There is extremely strong anecdotal evidence that young Aboriginal People with Disability are particularly over-represented in the criminal system.

A dozen groups including the Aboriginal Legal Service, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, and NSW Aboriginal Land Council are condemning the controversial plans for harsher youth bail laws. They say these will almost inevitably increase juvenile incarceration rates and pushing young people towards a life of crime. 

Critics say the proposal is a hazardous, short-term political ploy and cite the failure of similar unsuccessful measures deployed in Queensland as a reason to urgently abandon the so-called ‘crack-down’. 

Karly Warner, CEO of Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT insists the changes to bail laws “will lock more children up and is a short-term political stunt that won’t fix a thing on the ground in communities”.

Read the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Release