What is more important? Protecting and investing in the future of our children or safe-guarding our communities from hooligans and ‘rogue youth’. Some are arguing that this is not a case of who is more important, but what will cost less?
Earlier this month, the Northern Territory Chief Minister, Adam Giles, spoke out via social media and proposed that the presumption in favour of bail for youths will be removed. As a result of what Giles believes is poor legislation, ‘rogue youths’ are disobeying the police, breaking the laws and mocking the second chance society has given them.
Giles’ views of preventing youth access to bail follows in the wake of the State changes to bail and firearm laws in response to the Lindt Café Sydney siege. NSW Premier Mike Baird announced that in an attempt to keep the public safe, anyone suspected of having links with extreme terrorist groups will struggle to be granted bail.
In this vein, one could almost argue that Giles believes Australia’s ‘rogue youth’ should be treated like suspected terrorists.
In response to this social media rant, Children’s Commissioner Colleen Gwynne affirmed the points being made by Law Society President Tass Liveris by stating that “putting kids behind bars didn’t work. Detention actually teaches young people to be better criminals and re-traumatises kids who have already been abused or come from dysfunctional families.”
The Australian Bar Association has also taken a stance on this issue by asking the Northern Territory to examine the far-reaching and negative impacts changes to legislation would have on Indigenous Australians who make up close to 90% of the prison population in the Northern territory.
This issue has now attracted the attention of the other side. With the election nearing closer, this current concern has prompted Labor Leader Michael Gunner to highlight that the CLP are only looking at youths once a crime has been committed. His party will work towards preventing crime rather than punishing kids after the fact.
As Mr Liversis has stated, “Everyone is sick and tired of what communities see as the revolving door of jail. We have been on this path for some time and the community is no safer for it.”
If you are struggling with the bail requirements following the changes to these laws, or wish to ask how proposed changes might affect you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to call Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors for legal advice on 02 8917 8700 or fill out the enquiry box and we will get back to you ASAP!