Young in­mates rack up big dam­age bills

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - MADURA MCCOR­MACK

DE­TAINEES at Cleve­land Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre have racked up a hefty six- fig­ure prop­erty dam­age bill, with fire sprin­klers and toi­lets a par­tic­u­lar tar­get for van­dal­ism.

Lat­est fig­ures re­veal in­mates at Cleve­land Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre had caused $ 163,425 worth of dam­age to the place in the 2017- 18 fi­nan­cial year.

This is a 36 per cent in- crease from the year be­fore, when the prop­erty dam­age re­pair bill was $ 119,769.

Mean­while, the dam­age re­pair bill at Bris­bane Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre fell 61 per cent in the same time frame, from $ 725,436 in 2016- 17 to $ 282,191 last fi­nan­cial year.

Min­is­ter for Child Safety Di Farmer could not pin­point any ma­jor in­ci­dents in 2017- 18 that would have re­sulted in large scale prop­erty dam­age.

She said fit­tings in cells in- clud­ing fire sprin­klers, elec­tri­cal fix­tures and toi­lets are a par­tic­u­lar tar­get for dam­age.

“The com­mu­nity ex­pects young of­fend­ers to be held ac­count­able for their ac­tions, and so does the Govern­ment,” she said.

“The dam­ag­ing of prop­erty at the youth de­ten­tion cen­tres and vi­o­lence against staff or other young peo­ple is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.

“Young peo­ple who com­mit such acts at ei­ther of the de- ten­tion cen­tres are held ac­count­able for their ac­tions and where ap­pro­pri­ate they are re­ferred to po­lice for prose­cu­tion.”

Op­po­si­tion jus­tice spokesman David Janet­zki said the cost of van­dal­ism in­side the two youth de­ten­tion cen­tres was un­ac­cept­able.

“The dam­age bill is clear ev­i­dence the youth jus­tice sys­tem is in cri­sis,” he said.

“A clear mes­sage that needs to be sent that if you smash a TV, it won’t be fixed. Youth of­fend­ers are out of con­trol and it’s Queens­lan­ders who are foot­ing the bill.”

Ms Farmer said in 2018- 19 fi­nan­cial year, an ex­tra 84 front­line staff, in­clud­ing spe­cial­ist be­hav­iour man­age­ment staff, were be­ing em­ployed in youth de­ten­tion cen­tres to help re­duce prop­erty dam­age and as­saults, man­age chal­leng­ing be­hav­iours and make sure staff and young peo­ple were safe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.