: Mandatory detention to be extended

Mandatory detention to be extended

Kate Galloway
Western Australia

The Criminal Code Amendment Bill (No 2) 2013 was introduced into the WA parliament on 26 June. The Bill will establish mandatory sentencing for assault and bodily harm of youth custodial officers. The Attorney General describes the bill as fulfilling a pre-election commitment to protect youth custodial officers in the same way as for police, prison officers, ambulance officers, transit guards and court security officers.

There is well-documented concern over mandatory sentencing regimes, and especially over mandatory sentencing of youth. As WA leads Australia in the proportion of incarceration of Aboriginal youth, this new law is of particular concern. Amnesty International has indicated that such laws are discriminatory in that they will effectively target the most vulnerable — Aboriginal children from remote areas with limited access to services.

While a safe work environment for protective officers is obviously important, the imposition of mandatory sentences is not the answer to safety at work.

KATE GALLOWAY teaches law at James Cook University.

(2013) 38(3) AltLJ 198
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