2011/10: Should there be fixed minimum periods of detention for 16 and 17-year-olds convicted of gross violence?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
An ABC news bulleting showing Victorian minister Robert Clark announcing the new legislation. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'When a violent thug inflicts premeditated gross violence on innocent victims, the community needs to be protected... Rehabilitation is not the sole consideration when sentencing juvenile offenders'
Victorian Attorney General, Robert Clark

'The ability of the current detention system to rehabilitate young offenders is increasingly in doubt... Detention seems to criminalise young people further'
The Australian Law Reform Commission's inquiry into juvenile detention

The issue at a glance
On May 30, 2011, it was announced that the Victorian government had asked the state's Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) to look into minimum jail terms for 16- and 17-year-olds convicted of violent crime.
The SAC is being asked to recommend protocols determining which type of crime should be included in this category and under what highly exceptional circumstances judges may be able to issue less than a two-year sentence for young people found guilty of such offences. The SAC will be calling for public submissions.
This is the first stage of the Baillieu government's implementation of part of its election campaign policy on law and order.
The then Opposition promised that if elected it would introduced fixed minimum terms of four years for adults convicted of violent crime and fixed minimum terms of two years for 16- and 17-year-olds convicted of comparable crimes.
A variety of legal spokespeople and those involved in child welfare have spoken out against the proposed change to Victoria's law.