Proposed NT youth justice laws are a backward step & will not make the community safer

11th May 2021

The Youth Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 being proposed by the NT Government is a backwards step that contradicts all the principles of effective youth justice, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“The Government is claiming the new laws target only a small group of offenders but that is simply not the case – the laws are general and apply to any child charged in the Northern Territory,” said Mr Greg Barns SC, national criminal justice spokesperson, ALA.

“The legislation will have a broad impact and serious long-term consequences, and must not be rushed through Parliament without proper consultation.

“In the Territory the number of young people in detention is already three times the national average and more than 90% of these youth are First Nations children. We should not be introducing legislation that will put even more children behind bars.

“All the evidence from around the world tells us that the more exposure a young person has to detention centres and the criminal justice system the more likely they are to continue to reoffend. 

 “We know people are looking for answers and we all want to live in safe communities, but the ‘tough on crime’ measures proposed by the NT Government are not the solution.”

Tags: Northern Territory Youth Justice