July 14, 2024

Together Brisbane

Brisbane City Queensland Australia Local News

What is a Youth Detention Centre?

4 min read

Youth detention centres are places where young people who commit crimes can be placed, with no plan in place to rehabilitate them; as a result, many are likely to reoffend upon release from confinement.

Queensland boasts three youth detention centres for young offenders: Brisbane Youth Detention Centre in Wacol, West Moreton Youth Detention Centre and Cleveland Youth Detention Centre located in Townsville.

What is a youth detention centre?

Youth detention centres, also referred to as juvenile correctional facilities or juvenilelle halls, provide short-term residential facilities for young people awaiting court proceedings. Youth in detention are typically sent there by judges for delinquency matters (similar to misdemeanor cases) or as conditions of their sentence imposed. Youth detention facilities do not differ significantly from long-term programs (see youth correctional facility).

Many youth who end up in confinement do so because the services and programs that they need are unavailable in their communities, rather than due to any delinquent activity for which they were arrested or committed. Other youth may be detained to protect others, themselves and the community from grave danger, or for public safety purposes – in such instances the level of restrictiveness at a detention facility and its care philosophy are key elements that ultimately determine its effectiveness.

What is the purpose of a youth detention centre?

Youth detention centres (also referred to as juvenile correctional facilities) provide temporary custody for young offenders while their case is being heard in court. A youth may be placed here due to being an flight risk, not attending school regularly, or for having committed a serious offence.

Youth detention centres exist primarily to ensure children remain safe while waiting for court proceedings to occur, yet their treatment of youth has come under close examination, prompting calls for an independent review of these practices and operations.

Brisbane Youth Detention Centre (BYDC) has come under harsh criticism following reports of sexual abuse committed by staff members. Such abuse can have devastating long-term repercussions for victims’ mental health and wellbeing, often carried out by long-serving staff who know how to manipulate the system effectively.

What are the conditions of a youth detention centre?

Youth justice department officials say each detention centre offers programs intended to address the root causes of offenses and prepare young people to reenter society. According to their website, upon admission children receive mental health assessments and case workers. Furthermore, physical exams (which include blood pressure checks), free food (breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner), as well as classes including cooking, horticulture bricklaying barista training general education courses etc are offered free.

However, workers claim the centres are already at capacity and that overflow is being housed in police watch houses where conditions are said to be dire. Complaints include water fountains frequently closing unexpectedly or leaving green calcified substances in their drinks and cells being too small – one boy in Brisbane told a community visitor his cell was so hot he couldn’t sleep!

What are the responsibilities of a youth detention centre?

Youth detention centres have several responsibilities to ensure the wellbeing of juveniles under their care, including using detention only when necessary and at an appropriate level of restriction; additionally, ensuring they offer helpful programs and services for youths in detention.

Detention facilities also have other responsibilities, including processing admissions; conducting youth and family intake interviews; monitoring detention facility operations, as well as ensuring youth have access to legal materials including lawyers, law libraries, computers for research and ways to contact family and friends. It is also vitally important that youth can communicate freely between detention centres and family and friends during this process.

Detention centres must offer their residents quality medical care, including screening new admissions for mental health needs and addressing any identified concerns. Furthermore, detention centres should collaborate with local resources in order to facilitate an easy transition back into society for youth who return from detention.