New youth detention centre to be built at Woodford

Published 10:19am 11 May 2023

New youth detention centre to be built at Woodford
Words by Kylie Knight

The first of two new youth detention centres for Queensland will be built at the Woodford Correctional Precinct in the Moreton Bay Region.

It will be positioned adjacent to the existing adult correctional centre, and with site selection for the centre now complete, the focus has shifted to finalising a detailed design for the new centre. No timeline has been announced for construction.

The State Government has also committed to building a new youth detention centre near Cairns. Work to identify a suitable site for this centre is ongoing.

New youth detention centres in Woodford and Cairns support the government’s goal to provide more regional youth detention services, facilitating connection to family, community, country and support services during detention and when transitioning back into community.

Both new centres will include therapeutic design elements which aim to support rehabilitation for young people and improve community safety.

These elements include smaller, more home-like accommodation units purpose-built to encourage young people, staff and stakeholders to work together; consultation and treatment rooms; multipurpose spaces for education, skills development and training; and spaces for cultural connection.

The two new centres are part of the State Government’s response to youth crime in Queensland. The government has implemented tougher penalties for serious repeat offenders and is investing an additional $100 million in programs proven to break the destructive cycle of youth crime.

Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard said the centres reflected how the Government was listening to the community.

“A comprehensive site search has been undertaken and we have locked in the Woodford site and an appropriate site will be identified near Cairns shortly,” she said in a statement.

“The Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs continues to work with central government agencies to identify suitable interim detention options that can be brought online quickly should it be needed.

“Therapeutic approaches to youth detention have been in operation across many jurisdictions, with evidence showing positive outcomes for young people including reduced recidivism and higher rates of successful reintegration into communities.”

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