THE Queensland Government has spent millions of dollars improving conditions at two of the state’s largest youth detention centres, as recommended in the latest quarterly Youth Detention Inspectorate report.
It comes after an unexpected spike in the number of young people in detention earlier this year put immense pressure on both the Brisbane centre and Townsville’s Cleveland centre.
Based on inspections in March and April, the report found while detention centres were coping with the population pressure, more needed to be done to better manage those pressures and create more space.
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Since the report was finalised, a new accommodation block has been completed in Brisbane and $13 million spent on 12 new beds and improved security at the Cleveland centre.
An additional $10.6 million has also been set aside in the State Budget for extra staffing and planning, including 84 new frontline and support staff.
Minister for Youth Justice Di Farmer praised the work of Youth Justice staff and their commitment to keeping Queenslanders safe.
“We have been up front with Queenslanders about the challenges facing our youth justice system, and I am pleased to be able to report the progress being made,” Ms Farmer said.
“Make no mistake about this – we want fewer young people in detention because the evidence shows spending time in detention does not help to break the cycle of youth offending.
“Earlier this month we released Bob Atkinson’s report in to the Youth Justice system, and announced our process of strengthening our Youth Justice strategy by the end of the year.
“Our strategy will be based on evidence of what works. We cannot keep doing what has been done for decades and expect the result to be different.
“We need to change the story for these young people and that is what our strategy will be designed to do.”