Improving literacy - improving lives

When young offenders arrive at a youth detention centre many struggle to read and write. But our youth justice workers are trying to change that.

For the first time this year, Youth Justice central office staff and other government colleagues donated 420 pre-loved books to Brisbane Youth Detention Centre (BYDC) and Cleveland Youth Detention Centre (CYDC) during Book Week in August.

Staff donated beloved books from their own collections to create mini libraries in the accommodation units of young people at the detention centres.

BYDC Acting Deputy Director Kelsey Allan said that making books more available to young people in their living spaces in an informal way would improve the likelihood of reading.

Pictured: Deborah Iongi and Kelsey Allan from BYDC

“If a young person is embarrassed about their reading abilities but have access to various books at differing levels within their accommodation unit, hopefully we start to normalise reading and the young person is more confident to pick up a book,” said Ms Allan

“By encouraging the young people to read, we open them up to new ideas, new opportunities and the potential of a better future.”

She said most young people at BYDC have literacy development issues and their reading age is on average 5 years behind their peers.

Literacy skills are key to successful education and are also recognised as being an essential base to informed decision-making, personal empowerment and community participation.