A Tasmanian Aboriginal community leader says the younger a child is put in detention, the more likely they are to become embedded in the criminal system.
Rodney Dillion on Tuesday weighed into debate on whether the age of criminal responsibility should be increased from 10 to 14 years in Australia.
A Council of Attorneys-General meeting on Tuesday resolved more review work needed to be done on the matter before a decision was made to change the age.
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Mr Dillon said putting children in detention, or worse isolation, did not address the cause of criminal behaviour.
Instead, Mr Dillon said these children should be placed in diversionary programs which were proven to work.
"Kids don't belong in a prison, kids belong in a family home," he said.
"When they go in there, it's like quicksand. They stay in that system for the rest of their lives."
According to Justice Department data, there were two 12-year-olds, eight 13-year-olds, and 60 children aged 14 years old held in watch-houses in Tasmania in 2019.
There were no 10 or 11-year-old children held in detention.
Mr Dillon said children as young as 10 and 11 had been held in detention in Tasmania in the past.
Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said medical evidence indicated children who were incarcerated were at risk of lifelong harm to their health and an early death.
Government minister Roger Jaensch said it was difficult to reach consensus across all Australian jurisdictions on the matter.
"The decisions about who gets locked up are made by the courts," he said.
"There haven't been any young people under 14 sentenced to a custodial term in Tasmania for many years."
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