CityHub: “Punitive measures simply don’t work”: Premier criticised for new youth crime laws

Premier Chris Minns is under intense scrutiny following the NSW Government's announcement of new legislation aimed at toughening the stance on youth crime, which will tighten the criteria for granting bail to young offenders.

The premier has dismissed the possibility of raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14, a move criticised as “knee-jerk law and order response”.

Moreover, teenagers who engage in "post and boast" behavior on social media will now face an additional two years added to their prison sentences.

These policy changes are framed as efforts to address rising crime rates in regional NSW according to government statements.

However, there are widespread concerns that these reforms may result in more children being incarcerated and could exacerbate the state's challenges in meeting the"Closing the Gap" targets.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) said they were “horrified” by the announcement. 

President Lydia Shelly said, “It is outrageous that the Minns Government is announcing measures to incarcerate children rather than listening to the evidence to raise the age of criminal responsibility in NSW.”

“Evidence should guide policy; it is so disheartening to witness steps that could harm rather than protect our young people,” she continued.

“When children this young are forced through a criminal legal process, their health, wellbeing, and future are put at risk. Punitive approaches simply don’t work, and we know this. Locking kids up is not a solution.”

Ms Shelly warned, “The Premier is sowing the seeds for intergenerational trauma and further fissures in social cohesion.”

“This will not help vulnerable communities nor make them safer. Children will be harmed by this policy,” she asserted.