Boot camps cost more than detention, don't deliver results

Sharyn O'neill

YOUTH boot camp operators will be given their marching orders when their contracts expire in September and October.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the cost of the LNP's tough stance on youth crime had blown out from a $2 million trial to $16.7 million.

During a parliamentary budget estimates committee in Brisbane on Thursday, Ms D'Ath tabled a KPMG report that found the boot camp cost per youth varied from $8845 for Fraser/Sunshine Coast to $15,352 for Rockhampton.

The report found the boot camps cost more than youth detention but did not deliver the intended results on repeat offending or community engagement.

"In particular, the Rockhampton and Fraser/Sunshine Coast EIYBC (early intervention youth boot camp) have struggled engaging stakeholders ... to assist the young people during the community integration phase," the report read.

While the Gold Coast camp had existing relationships with various government and community organisations, the report found anecdotal evidence suggesting Rockhampton and Fraser/Sunshine Coast had weaker connections because of distance and resource availability.

KPMG also found Rockhampton and Fraser/Sunshine Coast had insufficient resources for family involvement.

The average daily cost to keep a young person at one of the four camps, Lincoln Springs west of Ingham, was $2350 a day, compared with $999 for youth detention.

While KPMG recommended the Gold Coast provider remain operating, Ms D'Ath said all four operations, including one in North Queensland, would not have their contracts renewed.

"The evaluation audit has shattered the myth on which the trial was based," she said.

"It has found that the youth boot camps do not break the cycle of repeat offending and that recidivism rates of participants in the sentencing boot camp were no different to those experienced for offenders in areas such as those in youth detention centres.

"It found the program was hastily set up and was not supported by appropriate research."

Shadow attorney-general Ian Walker said repeat offending was too high and the LNP had to try something fresh.

He challenged Labor to trial something new to replace what he called a broken system.

"Boot camps for us was a pilot, to see whether this was something that would cut that cycle of recidivism," he said.

The report found that of the 35 successful program completions, 24 had re-offended (69%).

The re-offending rate was highest for voluntary participants at 86%.

Labor has committed to return to its youth conferencing process, which involves victims and offenders coming face to face.


Topics:  boot camp juvenile offenders queensland youth crime

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