THE QUEENSLAND Government has announced a record investment in Queensland’s youth justice system, that includes wellbeing initiatives.
More than $320 million will be spent on a range of measures to reduce reoffending, as well as expanding, building and staffing new youth detention centres.
The strategy will include the construction of a new 32 bed youth detention centre at Wacol and the addition of 16 beds at the existing Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.
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There will also be increased community youth responses to crime hotspots in Brisbane, Ipswich and Cairns, along with enhanced youth and family wellbeing in partnership with Indigenous Family Wellbeing Services.
In South East Queensland, a community-based supervision by Queensland Police will be established for high risk young people on bail.
There will also be an extension of funding for an additional Specialist Children’s Court Magistrate.
In a statement on Tuesday, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Di Farmer, explained how the reforms were the next step in implementing the Palaszczuk Government’s Youth Justice Strategy which was announced last year.
“This investment will expand the current statewide capacity from 254 beds to 302 beds, ensuring we have better and safer conditions for young people in detention and our YDC staff,” Ms Farmer said.
“Our focus remains on reducing offending rates and preventing young people ever needing to be place in detention,” she added.
“We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result – we need to invest in programs and initiatives which work.
“For example, we’re providing $28.7 million over four years to expand our Transition 2 Success program, which helps young people into the workforce or back to school, and a further $27 million to expand restorative justice programs.
“There is good evidence to show that these programs work to prevent re-offending.
“Of the young people who go through Transition 2 Success programs or Restorative Justice conferencing, almost 6 out of 10 don’t go on to reoffend.
“More than that, we are seeing young people become productive members of society, undertaking education or getting jobs.”
An action plan to support the Strategy is scheduled to be released mid-2019.