Adult crimes should have adult consequences

The liberal hand-wringers and crim-huggers are at it again, this time wanting 17 year old criminals to be treated lightly by courts.

Child and youth workers are pleading with the Government to change the way 17-year-olds are treated in our justice system.

At the moment they are dealt with alongside serious adult offenders, but experts claim that’s unfair and unreasonable, and they’re pushing for them to get another year’s grace in the Youth Court.

When a hooded robber points a gun at your face, how old they are makes no difference to the terror you feel. But if that robber is still legally a child, then there’s a huge difference to how they’re punished.

Sixteen-year-olds will be dealt with by the Youth Court and spared adult prison.

“If you’re 17 — you’re wearing a school uniform, full-time education — and you commit an offence, you can end up in the District Court or you can end up in prison,” says Victoria University’s Dr Nessa Lynch.

With serious offending, such as murder, that punishment may be fair. But Dr Lynch and JustSpeak’s Dr Katie Bruce believe in many other cases that course of action is unjust.

“I think 17-year-olds do know the difference between right and wrong, but what’s really interesting is that brain science is showing now that actually your frontal cortex isn’t fully developed until you’re around 25,” says Dr Bruce.

So let’s get this straight. Some politicians want to lower the voting age to 16…Phil Goff wanted the age of consent lowered to twelve…and these wombles think that 17 year olds committing adult crimes should be slapped on the hands with a wet bus ticket.

The doctors are part of an expert advisory panel, recommending the Government should raise the age of youth justice to include 17-year-olds and, in certain cases, 18- and 19-year-olds.

Instead of throwing them into an adult prison with hardened career criminals, they want a focus on intervention and rehabilitation.

“Young people are different and young people need a different response to recognise that they don’t always fully understand the long-term consequences of their actions,” says Dr Bruce.

They’ll learn real fast when they are sitting in a cell contemplating when Bubba will get back from his shower.

But the Sensible Sentencing Trust is against the idea and believes it will be exploited by criminals and lead to more serious offending.

“They’re going to see that as a softer option,” says the trust’s Jess McVicar. “They’re going to go, ‘Yay, I can keep committing these offences because I’m not getting any punishment for what I’m doing.'”

Of course they will think that. They are criminals, they will exploit loopholes and gutless crim-hugging politicians.

If politicians and liberal hand-wringers dispensed with the woofterism and actually punished these young thugs earlier then we wouldn’t have this problem. An offender who commits an armed robbery at 17 will almost certainly have committed a plethora of other crimes leading up to that event. Make sentencing tougher and harder younger…not this malarky.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.