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Quakers support raising the age of incarceration
Quakers in Australia have written to the Standing Council of the Attorneys General, advocating for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised from 10 years to 14 years old. The letter was drafted by the AYM First Nations Peoples Concerns Committee and signed by Presiding Clerk Bruce Henry.
Read below an excerpt from the letter:
Dear Attorneys General,
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) joins other faith communities in calling upon your governments to raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years of age. The continuing incarceration of children below the age of 14 throughout Australia, and particularly of Aboriginal and Torres Islander children, is a national shame. The Australian Medical Association (AMA), Amnesty International, Law Council of Australia, Royal College of Australian Physicians and United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommend the age of criminal responsibility be raised to 14 years of age. They all refer to a significant body of evidence on child brain development that children under the age of 14 may not have developed enough neurologically to have the required capacity to be criminally responsible.
Instead of incarceration, governments should prioritise justice reinvestment and fund therapeutic and rehabilitative methods like diversion programs that address the underlying causes of problematic behaviour in children, diverting them away from the criminal justice system. Children who complete diversion programs are much less likely to reoffend resulting in better outcomes both for themselves and the community. We agree with the head of NT police in Alice Springs - you can’t gaol your way out of deep social problems affecting vulnerable families and their children.
Read the full letter go here.
Image credit: Amnesty International.