Page 579 - Week 02 - Thursday, 6 March 2008

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care standards will also be introduced and access to personal information held by care services enhanced.

In the area of youth justice, the bill establishes a comprehensive framework regarding the chief executive’s powers and responsibilities in administering a place of detention for young detainees. Where appropriate, the framework is consistent with the Corrections Management Act 2007 to ensure that young detainees have the same minimal level of protections as adult offenders. However, it is worth noting that the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support will continue to manage both Quamby and the new Bimberi detention centre, ensuring that they maintain a focus on the unique needs of young people.

The bill addresses important recommendations of the human rights audit of Quamby Youth Detention Centre. It also elevates administrative powers relating to youth detention. The bill embodies and expresses relevant international human rights standards for children and young people deprived of their liberty. It will provide for increased transparency and accountability for the operations of the new Bimberi Youth Justice Centre and will ensure that young detainees, and others, know their rights and responsibilities in ensuring a safe detention environment.

Consistent with the government’s commitment to safe and healthy environments, the Youth Justice Centre at Bimberi will be a smoke-free environment. All staff, visitors, children and young people will be bound by this policy. Powers currently existing in standing orders for the Quamby Youth Detention Centre will be replaced with the new act and generally, publicly available policies and procedures.

The bill restructures and modernises the sentencing of children and young people and the administration of their sentences. The bill consolidates these provisions for children and young people in the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005, the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 and the Court Procedures Act 2004.

The criminal justice amendments focus on rehabilitation, flexibility and consistency in sentencing young offenders. Article 14 (4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that, when dealing with young people, the decisions that the courts make must take into account the age of the young person and the desirability of promoting their rehabilitation. The bill provides for a sentencing methodology consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Australian common law that applies to all people under the age of 18. The primary purpose of sentencing young people is rehabilitation.

While the principle of rehabilitation is the starting point for sentencing children and young people, this does not mean purposes such as community safety or accountability are left unconsidered. Sentencing courts would consider applying those purposes in cases of serious offences or serious recidivism, having first considered the purpose of rehabilitation.

The bill will provide the Children’s Court and the Supreme Court with a number of new sentencing options, which will enable sentencing courts to tailor sentences to the specific rehabilitative needs of young offenders. The government has responded to

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