Juvenile Justice in Australiaa

The Juvenile Justice Act 1992 (QLD) defines a juvenile as a young person under the age of 17 years.It maintains that a child under the age of 10 years is not considered criminally responsible, and is incapable of forming ‘criminal intent’.Similarly, a child under the age of 14 years is not considered criminally responsible, unless it is proven that the child understood the offence was morally wrong.The extent of Police Powers over juveniles, the efficiency of the juvenile justice system, and possible solutions to the problems arising from these systems, need to be addressed in order to reduce the high rate of youth crime.
Queensland police have insufficient powers over juveniles, due to the introduction of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act, which commenced on 6th April 1998.Police have the authority to stop a juvenile, search, question and detain them for questioning without arrest if the officer reasonably believes that juvenile was or will be involved in criminal activity.Cautions can be issued to juveniles as an informal means of addressing a matter, as arrests are only encouraged in exceptional cases.Police can question, fingerprint, photograph and take bodily samples from a juvenile, on the condition that a parent or guardian is present.All other police procedures involving juveniles are uniform to those of adults.
The current juvenile justice system is ineffective in dealing with young offenders.For a simple offence such as stealing, the most a child can expect as a means of punishment is a caution, which is not revealed in a further court action concerning the child, or a good behaviour order.It is thought that punishments such as these do little in preventing juveniles from reoffending.The Queensland Police Service Statistical Review for 1996-7 revels that 25% of all offences, 66% of break and enters, 61% of motor vehicle thefts, 44% of robberies and 41% of stealing offences

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