Work starts on $627m youth detention centre

Published 5:00pm 27 February 2024

Work starts on $627m youth detention centre
Words by Nick Crockford

Construction is officially under way on a new 80-bed youth detention centre at Woodford.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles and State Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer turned the first sod at Woodford Correctional Precinct today.

The new $627.61m centre will include therapeutic design elements aimed at supporting the rehabilitation of young people and improving community safety.

These include smaller, more home-like accommodation units; consultation and treatment rooms; multi-purpose spaces for education, skills development, and training; as well as areas for physical activity, green spaces, and spaces for cultural connection.

Design also incorporates First Nations knowledge and culture, with Jinibara People Aboriginal Corporation guidance and expertise on such as spaces for community, cultural connection, gardens, green spaces, vegetation, landscaping and wayfinding.

Hundreds of new jobs will be created during construction – lead contractor for stage one is BESIX Watpac - and when the youth detention centre opens in 2026.

Work starts on $627m youth detention centre

“We want serious repeat offenders and young people who commit major crimes to be reprimanded, and that includes detention,” Premier Steven Miles said.

“The new centre at Woodford will be a secure location that detention and rehabilitation can occur, with a focus on education, vocation and job readiness skills.

“In turn, we hope young people leave detention with the skills to live productively in the community, to feel confident in themselves and motivated to turn their life around.”

Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer said youth detention centres play a “critical role” in protecting the public and helping offenders go back into their communities.

“This therapeutic state-of-the-art facility will offer improved facilities and resources to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of young people,” she said.

Work starts on $627m youth detention centre

“Therapeutic models of care work to address the complex underlying causes of offending, with an emphasis on individualised treatment plans.

“I want to see an emphasis on mental health support, because we know many young offenders have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect - often key triggers which lead to offending.

“We also know young people who leave therapeutic detention have a reduction in recidivism when they have completed a detention sentence.”

The State Government is also building a 40-bed facility near Cairns and a youth remand facility at Wacol.

By 2026, the government says it will have almost doubled the number of youth detention beds since coming to office in 2015.

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