Australian Institute of Criminology

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Brisbane 17 year old detainees

Seventeen year olds detained by police in Queensland are regarded as adults by the Queensland justice system; they are therefore eligible for interview by DUMA personnel at the Brisbane site. The findings for this group of detainees are provided separately in this report to ensure national consistency in the adult detainee sample—that is, in this report, adult detainee refers only to a detainee who is 18 years of age or older.

Summary

Of the 35 detainees who were approached, 35 (100%) agreed to be interviewed. Given the small number of detainees interviewed, caution should be exercised when interpreting the findings outlined below.

  • Eighty-three percent (n=29) of 17 year old detainees were male.
  • Seventy-four percent (n=26) of 17 year old detainees reported having been charged on a previous occasion in the past 12 months (see Table 9).
  • Twenty-seven percent (n=46) of all charges recorded against 17 year old detainees were property, and 20 percent (n=34) were breach (see Table 10).
  • Detainees may have been charged with multiple offences; each detainee was categorised according to the MSO they were charged with (see Technical Appendix). Forty-three percent (n=15) of detainees were categorised with a MSO violent and 40 percent (n=14) with a property related MSO.
  • Of the 24 detainees who were eligible, 22 (92%) provided a urine sample.
  • Eighty-six percent (n=19) of those who provided a urine sample tested positive for at least one drug type; test positive rates were highest for cannabis (77%; n=17) and amphetamines (45%; n=10) (see Table 11).
  • Ninety-seven percent (n=34) reported ever having tried cannabis, while 66 percent (n=23) reported having tried methamphetamine, 34 percent (n=12) reported ever having tried MDMA and 23 percent (n=8) reported having tried heroin.
  • The age of initiation (when the drug was first tried) for cannabis ranged from seven to 17, with 82 percent (n=28) of those who had tried cannabis reporting they tried it between 12 and 17 years of age. The age of initiation for heroin ranged from 14 to 17; for methamphetamine it ranged from 10 to 17 and for ecstasy from 13 to 17.

Criminal justice contact

Table 9 Brisbane 17 year old DUMA sample, by criminal history, 2013–14a
n %
Arrested in the past 12 months
Yes 26 74
No 9 26

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Offending

Table 10 Brisbane 17 year old sample, by offence, 2013–14a
Charges Detainees’ MSOb
n % n %
Violent 32 19 15 43
Property 46 27 14 40
Drug 18 11 1 3
DUIc 0 0 0 0
Traffic 4 2 0 0
Disorder 23 14 1 3
Breach 34 20 4 11
Other 13 8 0 0
Total 170 35

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Detainees may have been charged with multiple offences; each detainee was categorised according to the most serious offence (MSO) that they were charged with (see Technical Appendix)

c: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]

Drug use

Table 11 Brisbane 17 year old DUMA sample, by urinalysis test results, 2013–14a
Total
n %
Provided urineb
Yes 22 92
No 2 8
Test results
Cannabis 17 77
Cocaine 0 0
Amphetaminesc 10 45
Methamphetamine 9 41
MDMA 0 0
Other amphetamines 1 5
Opiatesd 0 0
Heroin 0 0
Methadone 0 0
Buprenorphine 0 0
Other opiates 0 0
Benzodiazepines 2 9
Any drug 19 86
Any drug other than cannabis 11 50
Multiple drugs 9 41

a: Sample size may vary, as cases may have been excluded due to missing data

b: Percentages have been calculated for the quarters in which urine samples were requested, which in 2013 was quarters 3 and 4 and in 2014 was quarters 1 and 3

c: Includes methamphetamine, MDMA and other amphetamines

d: Includes heroin, methadone, buprenorphine and other opiates

Source: AIC DUMA collection 2013–14 [computer file]