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Inclusion of 17-year-olds in the youth justice system

We are ending the practice of 17-year-olds being treated as adults in Queensland’s justice system.

On 3 November 2016, the Queensland Parliament passed the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17-year-old Persons) Amendment Act 2016 to bring 17-year-olds into Queensland’s youth justice system.

The new legislation will commence in November 2017 and will bring Queensland into line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the law in all other Australian jurisdictions.

Preparations are now underway to include 17-year-olds in the youth justice system.

This change forms an important part of the government’s broader youth justice agenda to implement developmentally appropriate, evidence-based reforms that reduce offending and reoffending.

Frequently asked questions

What does bringing 17-year-olds into the youth justice system mean?

Starting November 2017, 17-year-olds who commit offences will be dealt with under the Youth Justice Act 1992 rather than by the adult criminal justice system.

What are the benefits of treating 17-year-olds as young people in the eyes of the law?

Benefits of treating 17 year olds as young people allows more individualised intervention that is developmentally targeted to address criminal and antisocial behaviour. The youth justice system both:

  • holds young people accountable for their actions
  • works with young people (in an age and developmentally appropriate way) to address the causes of their offending behaviour.

Will 17-year-olds be automatically moved from adult prisons to youth detention?

17-year-olds held in adult prisons will transfer to youth detention when it is safe to do so, following the commencement of the legislation. The transition regulation (which enables the transfer) provides up to two years for this to happen.

Will 17-year-olds on probation and parole be moved to Youth Justice supervision?

17-year-olds under Queensland Corrective Services supervision will transfer to youth justice supervision when it is safe to do so, following the commencement of the legislation. Transfer arrangements will be in accordance with the transitional regulation which provides up to two years for this to happen.

Who is helping to plan the transition?

To plan the transition, Youth Justice are working with:

  • government departments
  • non-government stakeholders
  • academic bodies
  • the broader community.

This is to make sure that our infrastructure and services are ready to safely meet the increased demands that will accompany moving 17-year-olds to the youth justice system.

Contact the Transition Project team

The Youth Justice Transition Project team will coordinate efforts within youth justice and across government.

You can contact the Transition Project team at transitionprojectteam@justice.qld.gov.au.

Last reviewed
16 May 2017
Last updated
16 May 2017

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