Amnesty International Australia welcomed today’s announcement by Tasmania’s Government to raise the age of detention from 10 to 14.
Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Advisor, Rodney Dillon, said:
“Although we don’t have a lot of detail on the plans at this stage, Amnesty welcomes this significant step in a smarter approach to justice.
“Putting children in prisons causes irreparable harm, governments know this, but continue to allow children to be subject to this treatment.
“That the Tasmanian Government has recognised that children don’t belong in prison, and there are alternatives to dealing with crime, is a huge step forward.
“We would like to see the Government’s commitment to increasing the age of detention, reflected in a commitment to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 as well.
“This is a significant racial issue in this country which we must confront because the fact is that First Nations kids are the ones overwhelmingly overrepresented in the system,” Dillon said.
Amnesty International Australia commissioned research in 2021 that showed most Australians support raising the age of criminal responsibility, with 49% believing it is currently set at 16.
“This proposal, like the ACT’s plan, involves investment in diversion programs which are proven to be a much more effective solution to problematic behaviour in young kids,” Dillon said.
“The Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney has committed to national leadership on this issue, so this latest move, from a Liberal-led state, is further proof Australia is ready for this reform so our kids can live happy and healthy lives.”