Queensland locks up more children than any other state in Australia

Queensland spends tens of millions of dollars to keep more children in prison than any other jurisdiction in the country without affecting community safety, the report said. increase.

There were 219 detainees under the age of 17 in detention in June, compared with 172 in 2014, according to a Judicial Reform Initiative report released on Tuesday.

9 out of 10 have not been sentenced, and 2 out of 3 are indigenous peoples who make up less than 10 percent of the state’s child population.

The Queensland government spends $1,880 (US$1,257) per day, about $686,127 annually, to put each child in jail, and the total cost of youth detention in 2021 is about $183 million.

Mindy Sotiri, Executive Director of the Justice Reform Initiative, said the incarceration policy is based on “political, policy and legislative choices” rather than evidence.

“Building more prisons, like the Queensland government’s proposed $500 million expansion of juvenile prisons, will help deter crime, rehabilitate and make communities safer. You can’t do it,’ she said.

“This is a short-sighted and counterproductive policy that leaves vulnerable children more likely to commit further crimes and be trapped in the revolving doors of prisons that have become a devastating feature of the Queensland justice system. Become.”

Resources Minister Scott Stewart praised the state for “locking up the most children” and said, “This shows that we are tough on crime.”

Corrections Minister Mark Ryan later denied that the youth justice policy was not working, saying the detention was used in other programs.

“What you have to do and this is what this government is doing and pulling all the levers is that when you detain them there is also an intervention program. It’s something we’re investing in and will continue to invest in. We remain committed,” he told reporters.

The state spends about $128 million each year on programs to help young offenders, but they are ineffective, according to the report.

Many children in detention experience socioeconomic disadvantage, trauma, out-of-home care, and neurological impairment, and “prisons increase disadvantage and disconnection”.

The report says incarcerated youth, especially indigenous children, are in need of programs that treat their physical and mental health, address education, poverty and homelessness, and provide health and mental health care. says.

The Justice Reform Initiative writes, “Children need family and community support, education, and life opportunities, not punishments that exacerbate disconnection and disadvantage.”

“The continued failure to provide communities with the support and opportunities that truly address the underlying causes of incarceration underpins costly systems that make communities less secure.”

The report also called for raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility or detention in Queensland from 10 to 14.

Earlier this year, a parliamentary committee rejected the Green Party’s move to raise the age to 14, arguing instead for a nationwide push to make 12 the minimum age.



Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.