EDITOR’S NOTE – The challenge of Youth Crime

WORDS: Brian Usher [email protected] PHOTOGRAPHY

Australia is in the grip of a youth crime spree like nothing we have seen before. Queensland in particular faces some significant challenges with regional areas like Toowoomba, Townsville and Logan City regularly in the news for youth crime. Can we trust politicians to make the hard decisions that are best for the community to turn these young offenders into upstanding citizens, or look for a quick fix to win votes and head down the same road as the USA with overcrowding of jails, youth offenders becoming lifetime criminals and the public feeling that they need to arm themselves to protect their family and their property. The last thing we want is to make the same errors as the USA.

 Solutions to Youth Crime Issues

  1. Provide more after-school activities for young people to participate in, such as sports, music, art, and other creative activities.


  1. Provide youth with access to counselling and mentoring services that can help them with family, academic and emotional issues.


  1. Provide parents with information, support and resources to help them better understand their children and provide better guidance.


  1. Create more job opportunities for young people so they have an alternative to criminal activity.


  1. Work with local law enforcement and community members to strengthen neighbourhood watch programs to reduce criminal activity.


  1. Create more youth-friendly activities in public spaces, such as skate parks, basketball courts and playgrounds, to provide youth with positive outlets.


Negative effects of putting youth offenders in jail

  1. Impact on Development: Incarceration can have a negative impact on the physical, psychological and social development of young offenders.


  1. Education: Time in jail can cause young offenders to miss out on essential educational opportunities.


  1. Socialization: Young offenders are likely to be exposed to criminal behaviour and negative influences while in jail, which can lead to increased criminality upon release.


  1. Mental Health: Long-term imprisonment can cause depression, anxiety and other mental health problems in young offenders.


  1. Reintegration: Reintegrating into society after being in jail can be difficult, and young offenders may struggle to find employment or establish relationships.