Labor’s ‘staggering’ failure with youth bail

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

New figures showing a staggering number of crimes allegedly committed by youths in just three months proves the Gunner Government’s youth bail reforms are a complete flop.

Opposition questions submitted through a formal Parliamentary process has revealed 167 youths were charged with almost 400 crimes in the three months to the end of October, 2021.

Of those 167 youths, 79 were already on bail at the time they were apprehended.

That means almost half of youths apprehended were allegedly repeat offenders. This is deplorable.

What more does Labor need to finally realise its youth justice system is broken and this government has failed Territorians – particularly victims of crime?

Ms Finocchiaro quotes Shadow Minister for Territory Families, Joshua Burgoyne, that 20% youths apprehended whilst on bail were granted bail again, claiming this is a clear indication that the Gunner Government’s “catch and release” youth justice laws just aren’t working.

Leader of the Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro

8 COMMENTS

  1. I thought catch and release was only suitable for fishing?
    Clearly the government isn’t serious about the reduction of crime! But then again, nor are the voters, because they voted for the government.

  2. Does the Leader of the Opposition want to see our jails jam packed with kids? The NT prison population has already increased over the current financial year: “Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of prisoners on remand in the NT jumped by more than 30 per cent in the 2020-2021 financial year, despite warnings the prison system was at ‘tipping point’ early this year.
    “The overall prisoner population increased by 10%, with the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners rising from 1,371 to 1,540.”
    It costs $150,000 to keep a person in jail for a year. The CLP want to see more people in prison, its the only logical implication of their tired “tough on crime” mantra. What is the cost to the Territory from increasing the prison population? Has the CLP costed this?
    Just like anyone else, I don’t want to see any more crime in Alice but our response must be constructive and look towards solutions that are aimed at preventing offending and supporting vulnerable people.
    We simply can’t afford to keep putting people away; it doesn’t reduce crime and leads to re-offending whilst costing the taxpayer millions.
    It’s easy to dogwhistle on this topic but working towards actual solutions that reduce crime is hard and not something the CLP has even shown a genuine interest in doing.
    How about increasing funding for Aboriginal legal services?
    Or supporting more jobs and training for young people? Until the CLP show their support for services that divert people away from criminal behaviour, their comments on this are nothing more than political propaganda to secure a tough on crime vote.

  3. Agree Alex, the letters from the editor from the leader of the opposition and Robyn Lambley both appear to be primarily aimed at getting political capital by whipping up rage at youth crime rather than providing any suggested ways of addressing the issue.
    Tough on crime is a posture not a policy, it doesn’t help us address the issues in our community but serves instead to further divide us.
    I would like to see an approach that looks to improve the situation rather than just rant about it. Rainer Chlanda’s article in the alice News last year provides some good starting reflections.

  4. @ Dogwhistling unhelpful: In case you hadn’t noticed, the community is already divided and has been for many years!
    There are those who are are already enraged by the constant and ever increasing crime rate and the do-gooders.
    Yes, it makes sense for people to continue to address and resolve the youth issues, (you can call them issues but the result is crime). We have a right to be enraged because it is our hard earned dollars that are not only paying for the repair bills and the associated costs but also the costs associated with addressing the issues and the $150,000 a year per prisoner.
    So please accept there are and most likely to always be two different groups of people with very different opinions.

  5. @ Surprised: After we’ve exhausted ourselves being enraged the problem will still be there. What should be done about this? We can’t arrest our way out of it.
    Vigilantism? Would a court in this town convict someone for flogging a gang of burglars during a home invasion? I doubt it. These are dark paths.
    The only sure fire way I have to solve the problem is move away. I love this town. I don’t want to do that.

  6. @ Wee Willie Winkie:I love this place too, as do many including visitors, but we are letting the minority ruin all our abilities to enjoy the beauty of Alice.
    The government keeps spending millions of our money with politically motivated schemes that don’t work and yet won’t even look at something like a curfew. I am not saying that that is the answer, but we have tried just about everything else!
    It’s all very well to talk about human rights and curfews, but what about the rights of the majority? Or are the majority the perpetrators ?

  7. The government need to stop with these rubbish schemes and start getting serious.
    A lot of people are against the curfew because they think it doesn’t work. You only need to look at the tough stance and curfew that Joy Baluch took in Port Augusta to see that it can work, just need someone with the guts to do it.
    What I really want to know is where do these kids belong? Are they Alice locals or out of towners that come to town for grog?
    I am a firm believer of putting bars back in communities with rules that the community designates, not out of town white fellas who don’t have to abide by them so don’t care.
    One community I worked with when I put it back on them to come up with rules for their bar, had very sensible rules, (mids only, small opening times, banning of patrons who misbehave in community etc.) Its not a silver bullet, and you will still get some travel to get spirits etc. but the amount of death and destruction and wasted money that these communities are doing just to try and get a drink is madness.
    If they could keep the money they blow back in their community, the possibilities are endless for what they could have. Swimming pools, workshops etc. – there would be less need for mobs to travel to town and thus hopefully a reduction in crime.

  8. @ Chris: It’s my belief the only reason that grog is not available on communities, is purely politically motivated one. Everyone knows the mayhem and increased cases of violence there would be if it were allowed. So from a statistical perspective, showing the real stats (with grog on communities), the stats would look horrendous.
    With banning grog, people will leave the communities to obtain it. They go in many directions, so the wider geography allows only a slight increase (statistically) in crime in a given area.
    This is an easy one to fluff over and certainly a lot easier that explaining horrendous figures on any given community.
    Food for thought here, there are many places in the world where alcohol is banned. If we tried it in Alice Springs, people would be up in arms and talk about human rights and freedom etc, but very few give real thought to the victims of alcohol abuse.
    It seems so many people care about the issue, until they have to make some sort of sacrifice to help.
    I am not suggesting we ban alcohol in Alice, but the government could make some drastic (and probably unpopular) changes if they really wanted to.
    The government doesn’t really care a rats arse about the people and victims of alcohol, they only care about their (governments) image and I see this as a fundamental failing of our government.

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