Labor set to reveal stance on decriminalising drugs in Queensland
The state government is expected to announce on Friday whether Labor will act on a recommendation that illicit drug use and public order offences no longer be crimes, ahead of the release of a productivity commission report into recidivism.
In the 11th major review of Queensland’s criminal justice system in 10 years, Ms Trad asked the Productivity Commission to make recommendations to tackle the "serious and growing public policy concern" of prison overcrowding.
Someone is caught making, buying or taking drugs 10 times an hour on average in Queensland, 2019 police statistics reveal. Credit:AP
The final report will be made public on Friday.
In the draft report, released last year, the commission found that from 2012 to 2018, the number of sentenced prisoners rose by 40.2 per cent, putting pressure on the prison system.
"The largest driver was increased illicit drug offences, contributing 32 per cent of the growth," the report read.
"Imprisonment rates have increased despite falling crime rates."
Someone is caught making, buying or taking drugs 10 times an hour on average in Queensland, 2019 police statistics reveal.
A total of 85,882 drug offences were committed in 2019. These included everything from large-scale ice trafficking to possessing small amounts of marijuana.
Opposition justice spokesman David Janetzki urged the government to reject the recommendation if it makes it into the final report.
"Going soft on the war on drugs is not the answer," he said.
"While providing better treatment for those struggling with addiction is vital, we need tougher penalties to crack down and reduce supply."
Ms Trad did not respond to a Brisbane Times request for comment.
Australia's former top police officer, Mick Palmer, has thrown his support behind the argument for decriminalising illicit drugs for personal use.
Mr Palmer, who was the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police from 1994 to 2001, wrote to the commission that the current prohibitionist approach to drugs was "badly broken".
"Despite our best endeavours over many years, drugs are as readily available now as they have ever been," he wrote in a submission to the inquiry.
"The jury is no longer out on the failure of Australia's current illicit drugs policy.
"It does not work, and everyone knows it.
"There is also little or no evidence that targeting consumers leads to a reduction in drug use."
Mr Palmer said an ideal drug policy would still punish people who produced, transported, sold, bought or possessed large quantities of currently illegal drugs.
"But the number of people arrested or convicted of offences involving currently illicit drugs should be as few as possible," he said.