Program delivery and evaluation recommendations

The Review made 83 recommendations. These were sorted into work programs for implementation.

Our objectives

We will address young people’s offending behaviour with effective programs and services.

We will integrate our programs and interventions across detention and community settings.

The way forward

To achieve this we will:

  • improve job-related training for young people in detention
  • increase tailored program options to meet the individual needs of young people
  • make youth detention program timetable more flexible
  • increase youth detention program hours
  • assess all programs each year with the Standardised program evaluation protocol
  • strengthen links with training providers and employers in the community
  • build the capacity of non-government organisations to support young people leaving detention.

Recommendations

Recommendation 10 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that appropriate consideration should be given to investment in community-based wrap around services to support and coordinate with YJ. This is consistent with YJ objective to work, "in partnership with the community and other service providers to address the causes of the young person's offending" and was recommended in a number of submissions. (7.R8)

Youth Justice currently invests $5.6 million a year in community-based services to support young people. These are delivered through 22 services across the state, including:

  • young offender support services
  • supervised accommodation services
  • specialist counselling services (including responses for sex offences)
  • bail support services.

The social benefit bond to reduce youth offending started in October 2017. It provides mutli-systemic therapy to young people who are:

  • in the youth justice system
  • aged 10 to 16 years
  • in south east Queensland.

Since January 2019, the department has invested a further $17.1M state wide on bail support and legal advocacy programs. They will target the reasons behind young people being remanded in custody, before their court matters are finalised.

Legal advocacy services will help young justice matters to be resolved more quickly in court and reduce the rate of remand.

Recommendation 13 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that VET funding arrangements at BYETC and CETC should be re-examined with respect to the increased numbers of 17 year olds. Factors relevant for consideration include the type of programming that will lead to employment options for young people and ensure that the service delivery is appropriate and engaging for an older cohort. (7.R11)

We worked with the Department of Education and the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training to find ways to maximise young people's access to VET courses. Local barriers to access funding have been removed.

Both youth detention centres will continue to link young people to TAFE study. There will also be on-centre Transition to Success programs.

Recommendation 14 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that educational programs such as those successfully introduced in the Parkville College Victoria and the Whitelion program should be considered as models for service delivery in Queensland. (7.R12)

We have reviewed the programs delivered by Parkville College and Whitelion. We are now considering what we have learned as part of the development of the youth justice strategy and the ongoing expansion of Transition to Success.

We also worked with the Department of Education to review the 40 week school year currently delivered in our youth detention centre schools, and exploring whether this could be expanded to 48 weeks (per the Parkwood model). See recommendation 19.

Recommendation 17 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that the program evaluations from SPEP should be published upon completion. (9.R1)

We have finalised our policy and publication guidelines for Standardised program evaluation protocol (SPEP) evaluations. The guidelines are critical to ensure the published SPEP evaluations are not misinterpreted or misused.

Recommendation 18 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that SPEP should be undertaken on an annual basis to ensure that programs provided to young people in youth detention centres and in the community remain effective in addressing their specific criminogenic needs. These evaluations should be recorded and should inform the criteria for the development of specific programs each year. (9.R2)

4 new positions were funded to enable Youth Justice to assess all programs each year. These positions have been filled and operational planning has taken place to ensure the intent of this recommendation has been embedded into Youth Justice functions.

Recommendation 19 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that programs and services offered in detention centres should be flexible enough to allow effective implementation for, and participation of, young people on remand. (9.R3)

Young people in youth detention centres are able to access a broad range of programs and activities whether they are on remand or sentenced, including:

  • educational
  • vocational
  • therapeutic
  • rehabilitative
  • cultural
  • health
  • recreational.

There are some programs that are only offered to young people who have been sentenced. A young person must be found guilty of a related offence. These include:

  • restorative justice orders
  • Griffith Youth Forensic Service
  • motor vehicle offending program.

We tried new approaches to increase program participation during COVID-19 restrictions and for young people on short term remand, including:

  • adapting some existing programs for one-on-one or small group delivery
  • creating smaller programs from some units of longer programs.

We reviewed the timetabling of programs to increase flexibility and outcomes for young people. We have put a unit-based model in place at both centres. This means young people who live in the same unit go to programs together too. This helps to maximise attendance and increase young people’s opportunities to build positive relationships.

We also worked with the Department of Education to review the 40 week school year and look at whether this could be expanded to 48 weeks. A response has been sent to government and we are waiting on a decision.

Recommendation 22 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that consultation with external stakeholders should be undertaken in the development of programs for young women.

In respect of young women, this consultation should involve key stakeholders, such as Sisters Inside, and women's health organisations. (9.R6)

We acknowledge that girls and young women have distinct needs that must be met through gender-responsive intervention.

Young people in youth detention centres can access gender-responsive programs such as:

  • Girls moving on
  • Black chicks talking.

Caseworkers, behaviour and health staff consider the needs and vulnerabilities of young women in youth detention centres and embed individualised responses into the way they work with them. Gender-responsive supports are also delivered by Sisters Inside.

We reviewed best practice literature and services in this area to identify key learnings. Sisters Inside shared their insights as part of targeted consultation in the review. We have taken the learnings and used them in initiatives including:

We continue to consult with experts in gender-responsivity on ways to meet the needs of young women in custody, and build on the strong foundations that have been established.

Recommendation 23 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that physical activity should be incorporated into school programs offered at BYDC and CYDC, and be otherwise accessible to young people at least once per day. (9.R7)

Physical activity is scheduled for all young people each day. This is facilitated by the youth detention centres' schools as well as the programs teams.

Weather and safety issues can impact on young people’s participation.

Recommendation 24 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that sports programs developed within youth detention centres should be linked to sports programs available in the community. (9.R8)

This recommendation was implemented in line with recommendations 19 and 23.

Both centres have links in place with:

  • sporting associations
  • inter-school sporting competitions
  • local gyms.

We individually assess young people for sports activities. We support young people to maintain these activities when we do transition planning.

Recommendation 39 (status: closed)

The Review recommends that the Chief Executive should formulate a system with the Chief Executive (Education) and the Inspectorate to ensure that the educational facility and programs at the youth detention centres are informed of the absence of a young person, the reason for the absence and the lawful authority justifying the absence. The Review considers that the Inspectorate should remain aware of the statistics about the failure to attend educational classes and programs. Such a system should have the following features:

  1. detention centre staff in a unit must notify the educational institution that a young person from the unit is unable to attend the educational institution. The notice must be in writing and must state the lawful reason why the child is not attending the educational institution and be delivered to the school principal or delegate
  2. any child unable to attend the educational classes or programs must be delivered suitable educational materials for completion during their absence from the educational classes or programs
  3. that material is to be delivered to the person in charge of the child's unit
  4. the Principal or delegate of the educational institution must:
    • inform the teacher or instructor of the young person's absence; and
    • ensure that the young person who does not attend classes is provided with educational material that can be completed in the unit; and
    • ensure that a written record is kept on One School for each school day stating the name of each young person who was absent from school classes or programs, where the child was then they were absent, and what educational work was provided for the young person to complete; and
    • record whether the educational work was completed or record an explanation as to why the educational work was not completed.
  5. the principal or delegate must ensure that the written record of all educational classes or programs absences is provided to the Inspectorate each quarter to ensure that the information is included in the Inspectorate's Quarterly reports.
  6. the Inspectorate must liaise with Education Queensland to identify any concerning trends in the provision of education within detention centres and include any concerns and recommendations in the Inspectorate's quarterly reports. (12.R6)

Our youth detention centre management and the school principals have worked together to implement this recommendation. We continue to work together to best meet the education and training needs of young people in youth detention centres.

Changes to One School have not occurred yet. We have put other record solutions in place.