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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Boot camp bill hits $16.7m, independent evaluation finds

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Boot camp bill hits $16.7m, independent evaluation finds

    A damning new evaluation of the LNP boot camps trial has uncovered further blowouts to $16.7 million – more than eight times the promised cost – and found the program failed its core purpose, to cut repeat offending.

    Former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie trumpeted the camps’ ability to curb reoffending when he announced a $2 million trial in November 2012.

    But Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said today an independent evaluation by KPMG found the total cost of the trial had skyrocketed to $16.7 million over three years.

    According to the report, 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.

    Mrs D’Ath said that in line with recommendations from the Final Report for the Evaluation of Queensland Youth Boot Camps by KPMG, she would not renew the existing contracts after they expired in September and October.

    “This evaluation has revealed a multimillion-dollar bill for Jarrod Bleijie’s bluster on youth crime,” the Attorney-General said.

    “Aside from the shameful waste, it has shattered the myth on which the trial was based ­– youth boot camps do not break the cycle of offending.

    “The latest data shows that of the 74 young people in the Sentenced Youth Boot Camp program, 47 – or 63.5 per cent – have reoffended. That’s no different to other forms of detention.

    “There is no simply justification to put more money into programs that are failing to address reoffending.”

    Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government had already moved to build a youth justice system that addresses the cause of offending, ensures young people are held responsible for their behaviour and uses the benefits of rehabilitation to build stronger communities.

    This includes the reinstatement of court-referred youth justice conferencing through the allocation of $23.6 million over four years.

    In April, a scathing Queensland Audit Office report also identified major cost blowouts and exposed how Mr Bleijie had over-ruled an expert panel to award boot camp contracts.

    “Mr Bleijie’s approach to youth justice was more about headlines and helicopters than listening to the experts,” Mrs D’Ath said.

     

    More: 0455 051 900 or 0400 774 303

     

     

     

    The full report is at HTTPS://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/final-report-for-the-evaluation-of-queenslands-youth-boot-camps

     

    Not Value for money

    The SYBC is perceived to be more expensive than alternative sentencing options costing $4.8 million operationally over a 15 month period. In addition has incurred significant one-off capital and set up costs of $4.3 million. There is no short-term financial cost reduction in sentencing young people to the boot camp order as the cost of the SYBC is higher than the alternative sentencing options, which range from probation through to detention. (P14)

    The use of Youth Justice project staff at the implementation phase, the use of Corrections and Youth Justice staff for security at the Lincoln Springs site, and the cost of negotiating the lease were all reported by stakeholders as cost which were not anticipated at the planning stage of the program. The service provider did not report having any unanticipated costs, although Youth Justice reports that during the course of the program the service provider made requests for additional funds to cover operation accosts such as fuel, electricity, water and gas. (P119)

     

    Effects on recidivism

    Of the 31 distinct young people who have completed the program 21 (73%) reoffended between the end of their order and March 31, 2015. This is well below the target of 75% non-re-offending rate set in the contract. Of the 35 successful program completions… 24 have reoffended (69%). The reoffending rate is highest for the voluntary participants at 86% recidivism. (P98).

    Those who have reoffended show a limited change in the severity of offences committed post program. (P100)

    The current process for referring young people to the early intervention youth boot camp program has, in practice, resulted in a cohort of participants who although recorded as having the required risk factors to be eligible do not reflect the cohort of young offenders in Queensland or the cohort of young people most likely to become offenders. (P11)

    While Gold Coast and Rockhampton have met targets and indicators designed to show that they have reduced the likelihood of young people engaging in criminal behaviour, there is some doubt about whether the cohort engaged in the program (across all sites) is actually made up of young people who are significant at risk of entering the Youth Justice System. (P124)

    Stakeholder feedback and data provided suggests that the cohort of participants do not exhibit sufficiently high risk factors or reflect the characteristics of a potential entrenched offender group to allow the conclusion to be drawn that this program (EIYBC) has diverted anyone away from the criminal justice system. (P124)

    SYBC has not achieved the intended outcome of reducing rates of offending. This means that there is no financial benefit such as reduced detention costs, going forward. (P125)

    The SYBC is more expensive at its current occupancy levels than traditional detention and so there is no saving by using this sentencing option over detention, especially since, based on a very small number of completions, there is no improvement in reoffending rates. (P125)

     

    Audit Report

    As outlined in the Queensland Audit Office Report, the procurement process resulted in the award of the contract to a service provider who had limited experienced in the area and has faced significant issues in implementing key aspects of the [sentenced youth boot camp] program. (P64)

     

    Development of the program

    The establishment of the program occurred in a short time frame and was driven by an election commitment without a strong policy basis. (P46)

    It is understood the government was not open to any alternative other than boot camps. (P29)

    A significant concern about the program design has been the perceived lack of consultation with the local community, the Judiciary and local community and welfare organisations. In particular there was a significant lack of consultation with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities in the SYBC catchment area whose young people make up the majority of offenders in the SYBC program. (P38)

     

    Safety of female participants

    A rolling intake means that young females may be sent to a one-month residential phase with a group of young men. Although the SYBC (Lincoln Springs) provider ensures that there is a female staff member present when females are at the residential phase, many stakeholders feel that this is not enough to ensure the safety of a young female. (P44)

     

    Location of the SYBC at Lincoln Springs

    The choice by the previous Attorney-General to place the program in a remote location…. has caused significant issues in the implementation of the program. (P45)

    Inaccessibility for medical purposes – the nearest medical facility is a three-hour drive over unsealed roads (P46)

    The remote location of the residential phase makes it impossible to include the family in the residential phase when ideally family support would start. (P60)

     

    Qualifications of staff

    Lack of appropriately trained staff was exacerbated by the limited experience the SBYC provider had working in youth justice prior to being awarded the contract (P64)

    No training is provided to staff starting the program (P64).

    The SBYC service provider stated that they do not necessarily seek trained staff but rather staff who have the right attitude, ie ‘a big heart’ (P64)

     

     

    Cost of Detention

    This gives a daily cost $2350 (for SYBC), compared to $999 for detention, which is one of the alternative sentencing options (P122).

    The closure of the Kuranda SYBC and the late announcement and start-up of the Cairns and Townsville SYBC (Lincoln Springs) created significant additional set-up costs. (P66)

     

    Lack of Education Opportunities

    A common concern raised by stakeholders has been the lack of formal or recognised education provided in the residential phase of the program (SYBC program). DET has offered to run Lincoln Springs as an alternative education site through Charters Towers Distance Education but this has not been implemented. Young people learn horsemanship and stockman skills… Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders indicated they felt the horsemanship and animal skills were less helpful to the urban-based youth and instead there should be a focus on teaching survival skills such as cooking, cleaning and other daily tasks. Parents also echoed this sentiment… (P60-P61)

     

    Lack of Family Focus

    The Sentenced Boot Camp did not engage families during the program except to inform them of their child’s wellbeing at Lincoln Springs (P11)