Serious questions for those making and enforcing our laws

TODAY’S lead story about a small group of ratbags being responsible for a large part of the crime that happens in this city would not surprise many readers.

Serious questions must be posed to those who run the legislative process and thus, in turn give clear directions to the magistrates and judges who hand down rulings based on legislation.

There must be some answers or some alternative that can bring these people to answer for their behaviour.

A large proportion of these young people come from dysfunctional homes and while the fault might not be entirely theirs, something must be done.

Conversations this paper has had with those who are involved with the youth justice system indicate there is always hope, especially in the form of youth conferencing. Armidale in the state’s New England area has similar problems with youth crime and has been involved with the circle sentencing program. Reports from police and the local member claim it has been successful beyond expectations.

Former Dubbo City councillor and deputy mayor Warren Mundine in an interview soon to be published in the Daily Liberal believes magistrates should be empowered to order the miscreant to enter work and education programs rather than traditional custodial penalties. 

Certainly there are many studies that endorse his point of view.

A zero-tolerance approach has been effective in other cities around the world but it is expensive and time and resource consuming - something in these tight economic times that needs careful thought.

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