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Judicial CP - March 2016

Corpun file 26365 at (9 News TV), 11 March 2016

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler wants caning for young offenders



The home of the Wild West Saloon is starting to live up to that reputation so well that Kalgoorlie's mayor thinks a radical crime-fighting solution is urgently needed.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler has called for the introduction of caning and short-term weekend stays in jail to shock the culprits responsible for a spike in juvenile crime into turning their life around.

There has been a sharp jump in suspensions of students at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School this year, which follows a rise in problems with vandalism, break-ins, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Bowler, a former state Labor MP, has been criticised over the idea but says he's received far more support than opposition and would pursue it with the Barnett government.

"I realise governments probably won't stomach caning these days, there's a lot of opposition who say it is a bridge too far," he told AAP.

"But for every person who said that there has been seven to eight that support me."


Mr Bowler said police and magistrates did not have the tools to deal with youth offenders because they either had to hand out hefty jail terms of six months-plus - "where they learned to be a better criminal" -- or got off because a magistrate didn't want to jail a young man.

"I want something that will give you a bit of a jolt, a shock like a weekend in jail in a basic cell with no TV and you will say: gee this isn't very nice and a magistrate can say: next time you come before me you are going to get a bigger jolt," he said.

"The reintroduction of short-term sentencing for young guys getting into a downward spiral of burglary and vandalism would give magistrates more tools help these young men end up with a life of meaningfulness and respect."

Kalgoorlie-Boulder's deputy mayor Allan Pendal rejected the caning idea but said community leaders thought youth crime was a serious enough issue to have met to deal with it this week.

State Nationals MP Dave Grills also disagreed with Mr Bowler but has called for the reopening of mothballed work camps for young offenders.

© AAP 2016

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