Young inmates rack up big damage bills
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.