QSA ID 611089: Acts of the Parliament of Queensland, VOL 21, 50 VIC
News of the day

Logan Witness, Saturday 8 September 1888, page 3

Ministerial Crisis.


Kitt petitioned the Government to be released under the Offenders' Probation Act, and it may be stated a tragic and pathetic element in the case, that Kitt set forth in his petition that his wife was about to be confined, that she was so exercised in mind regarding his plight he believed she would, when woman's supreme moment arrived, become insane unless he were by her side. Kitt was not released, his wife gave birth to a child, lost her reason, was conveyed to Woogaroo asylum, and there died.


A radical legislative reform sponsored by Queensland Premier Sir Samuel Walker Griffith in 1886, the Offenders Probation Bill was based on a precedent established in Massachusetts in the United States of America. Under the provisions of the Bill, which was passed by parliament in 1886, courts were permitted to suspend sentences for first offenders convicted of minor offences, albeit, with a suitable recognizance that they be of good behaviour for 12 months and report to the police every three months during that period. The legislation was specifically aimed at preventing juvenile offenders from becoming hardened criminals, and was influenced by Howard Vincent, an English social reformer and previously Director of Criminal Investigations at Scotland Yard. Vincent had discussed the Massachusetts probation system with Griffith during a brief visit to Brisbane in 1884. Queensland’s Offenders Probation Act thus established one of the first statutory probation schemes in the world, and also served as the model for similar legislation subsequently introduced in all other Australian colonies. While serving as Queensland’s Chief Justice from 1893, Griffith incorporated the provisions of the Offenders Probation Act into the colony’s Criminal Code.


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