$ 50,000 per year to ed­u­cate a young crim­i­nal …

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS McMA­HON

YOUNG crim­i­nals inside Cleve­land Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre re­ceive nearly four times the fund­ing spent on ed­u­cat­ing the av­er­age Queens­land state school stu­dent.

Data shows it cost nearly $ 50,000 per full- time stu­dent at Cleve­land in 2016, while the av­er­age amount of money spent on sec­ondary state school stu­dents across Queens­land was $ 13,599.

The $ 49,777 spent on ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing for Cleve­land de­tainees, also trumps the $ 28,723 spent on stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties across the state.

In the July sit­ting of State Par­lia­ment, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kate Jones an­swered a Ques­tion on No­tice from the LNP about the amount of fund­ing the Cleve­land Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Cen­tre was granted over a num­ber of years.

In her an­swer, Ms Jones told Par­lia­ment that in 2016, for the equiv­a­lent of 54 full- time stu­dents, the cen­tre was given $ 2.668 mil­lion to fund the ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram.

Ac­cord­ing to the Myschool web­site, the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tion of the fa­cil­ity em­ployed 19 teach­ing staff — 17 full- time and two part- time — along with 17 non­teach­ing staff, for an equiv­a­lent of 11 full- time staff. The data also re­veals in 2016, 22 of the de­ten­tion cen­tre stu­dents were sus­pended from school for poor be­hav­iour.

A source inside the de­ten­tion cen­tre told the Bul­letin that in­mates were given ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to learn, with ac­cess to high- qual­ity re­sources.

“It is com­pul­sory, but a lot of them just sit around a ta­ble for a while, and the staff try and get them to learn, it’s a pain … be­cause a lot of them just don’t want to do it,” the source said.

“It’s ridicu­lous the amount of teach­ers and equip­ment they’ve got, the com­put­ers alone. The av­er­age school in Townsville would love the gear they’ve got there.

“You have the teach­ers, the teacher aides and the youth work­ers in there with them … the ra­tio is crazy.”

LNP ed­u­ca­tion spokes­woman Tracy Davis said the num­bers weren’t adding up and the Gov­ern­ment needed to step up and do more for those in de­ten­tion.

“Youth of­fend­ing has es­ca­lated un­der this soft- on- crime, do- noth­ing La­bor Gov­ern­ment and it’s set to get even worse,” Ms Davis said.

“The cost to ed­u­cate young peo­ple in de­ten­tion is sadly linked to the num­ber of young peo­ple be­ing de­tained.

“Not only are we see­ing our youth de­ten­tion cen­tres full of kids, we are see­ing ma­jor dis­rup­tions in sus­pen­sion num­bers from ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams run at de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

“De­spite all the hoopla spread by La­bor’s part- time Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter, it is clear that record spend­ing on ed­u­ca­tion in youth de­ten­tion doesn’t equate to achiev­ing the best out­comes for these young peo­ple.”

She said the de­tainees needed more op­tions for when they were re­leased from de­ten­tion.

“There needs to be more for these young peo­ple than just good in­ten­tions for their ed­u­ca­tion while they in de­ten­tion,” Ms Davis said.

“They need a solid plan to ei­ther con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion or be sup­ported with path­ways to em­ploy­ment.”

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kate Jones did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment by dead­line last night.

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