Sentencing and Young People (Qld)

In Queensland, when a young person is charged with a criminal offence, they will be required to attend the Children’s Court. If the court finds them guilty of offences, there is a range of sentencing orders it can impose, including good behaviour bonds, fines and terms of detention. This page deals with the sentencing of young people in Queensland.


When the Children’s Court sentences a young person, it does so under the Youth Justice Act 1992.

If a young person is charged with a serious indictable offence such as murder or manslaughter, the matter cannot be dealt with by the Children’s Court. It must instead by committed to a higher court for finalisation. When a higher court sentences a young person, it may do so either under the Youth Justice Act or under the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.

Sentencing principles under the Youth Justice Act 1992

When a court sentences a young person under the Youth Justices Act 1992, it must be guided by the principles set out in section 50 and Schedule 1 of that Act. These principles include that a child who commits an offence should be held accountable and encouraged to accept responsibility for the offending;  and that they should be dealt with in a way that gives them the opportunity to develop in responsible and socially acceptable ways, that strengthens the child’s family, and that recognises the child’s need for guidance and assistance.

Sentencing young people to fines

A child may be sentenced to a fine only if they have the capacity to pay it. This generally means that a fine will only be imposed if the young person is in paid employment.

A fine must be paid by a specified time or by specified instalments.

If a fine is not paid within the specified timeframe, the time for paying may be extended. Alternately, the fine order may be cancelled, and a community service order made instead.

Good behaviour orders

A child may be sentenced to a good behaviour order and released on condition that they do not commit a further offence during the period of the order. This order will generally be made if the offending is very low-level of if it is the young person’s first offence.

If a further offence is committed while a good behaviour order is in force, the court may resentence the child for the original offence.

Community service orders

If a child is willing to carry out community service and is assessed as suitable to do so, a court may impose a community service order. This order will require the child to perform a specified number of hours of community service, comply with the reasonable directions of Corrections and submit to other conditions.  


A probation order will be made against a child only if the child indicates they are willing to comply with the order. A probation order is a supervised order that allows a young person to live in the community under the supervision of Corrections.

A young person on a probation order must:

  • Refrain from violations of the law
  • Take part in programs as directed
  • Comply with reasonable directions of Corrections
  • Report and receive visits as directed by Corrections
  • Notify Corrections if they change their address or change their place or employment or school
  • Not leave the state without permission.

Intensive supervision orders

A court may sentence a child to an intensive supervision order (ISO) if it considers the child is likely to commit further offences and the child has been assessed as suitable for an ISO. An ISO will include the conditions that the court considers necessary to prevent the child from committing further offences.

A child on an ISO must:

  • Abstain from violations of the law
  • Comply with the reasonable direction of Corrections
  • Report to and receive visits from Corrections as directed
  • Notify Corrections of any changes of address or school
  • Not to leave the state without prior approval

The order may have other conditions attached depending on the child’s individual circumstances. These may include abiding by a curfew or abstaining from drugs and alcohol.   

Detention of young people

A court may sentence a young person to detention only if it has considered all other available sentences and considers that no other sentence is appropriate in the circumstances. A sentence of detention in Queensland is served in either Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, Cleveland Youth Detention Centre or West Moreton Youth Detention Centre.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
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