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Sunday 8th of December 2019

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Children accused of crimes will be released into the community faster

Friday 23rd of August 2019 | Oceania, Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald
News

Children accused of crimes will be released faster after being locked up in police watchhouses under laws passed in the Queensland Parliament.

Disturbing revelations have been raised in recent months about children as young as 10 being held in maximum security watchhouses “like animals”, with little access to outdoor air and education.

New laws to move children out of police watchhouses faster have passed in the Queensland Parliament.

Children have been kept in the Brisbane watchhouse for as long as six weeks, police data shows.

At one point, 67 children were in the watchhouse, designed for adults, on one night.

Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer said the bill removed barriers that might contribute to children being held on remand and refused bail.

"We know the community expects young people to be accountable for their actions and so do we," she said.

"However, if we persist with a 'lock them up and throw away the key' approach, we know that there is an almost 100 per cent chance that young people will reoffend."

The laws, passed on Thursday night, will require detained young people to be brought before a court within 24 hours of being arrested and ensures there is a presumption in favour of releasing a child on bail, except in some circumstances, such as if there is an unacceptable risk they will commit more crimes, endanger others' safety or interfere with witnesses.

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