Youths to stay in bail homes
YOUNG criminals on remand will be placed in specialised bail homes in Townsville suburbs under a radical move by the State Government to make room for 17-year-olds in youth detention facilities.
Five girls and six boys aged 14 to 17 will be eligible to go into these Supervised Bail Accommodations in Townsville, with the homes segregated by sex and staffed full-time.
The Government would not reveal the locations of the bail homes, but said they would be repurposed facilities that had already been housing young people in care, who could not go home or were on child protection orders.
It is understood there are 42 17-year-olds in prisons across the state who will begin transitioning back to youth detention in November, with every new young offender aged 17 and under to be dealt with in the Youth Justice System by February 12 next year.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath said it would be under Townsville magistrates' discretion whether the teen crims could be placed into the bail houses.
"Each individual will be assessed as to their suitability to go into one of these bail accommodation sites and that assessment will be put to the magistrate, ultimately the court, and the court alone will decide," Ms D'Ath said.
"It is for 14 to 17-year-olds, 10 to 13-year-olds will still be held in detention, but separately zoned, so they are separated from the older aged cohort."
Ms D'Ath said the sites would be staffed 24/7, with both youth justice staff and service providers.
"We will have service providers brought in who will manage the accommodation and services 24/7, there will be the live-in providers, in addition there will be youth justice staff allocated to each one of these sites during working hours and any additional support they might need."
LNP shadow attorney-general Ian Walker said Labor had botched the release of 17-year-olds from adult prisons and now had created another headache for themselves.
"These young violent offenders are in detention for a reason. There is no sugar-coating this fact," Mr Walker said.
"Let's be very clear, they are not in detention for stealing a lollipop from the corner store.
"They are accused armed robbers, people who have violently assaulted others and recidivist offenders.
"They are also the ones who break into your family home at night when you are sleeping to steal your belongings and your car. The LNP make no apologies for standing up for victims and families and being tough on crime."