Bail house kids costing taxpayer $78,000 for an average stay

 

THE AVERAGE stay of a young person at a bail house in Townsville costs taxpayers $78,000, shocking new figures have revealed.

It comes as the State Government initiative comes under sustained criticism, with the LNP branding it an "obscene waste" of money.

Figures released by the State Government showed 59 young people stayed a total of 1801 nights across Townsville's two bail houses in 2018/19, meaning a single teenager spent about 30 days at the facility.

An independent review of the State Government's Supervised Community Accommodation program, released by right to information, revealed it was costing taxpayers $2600 a day to house one teenager in a bail house.

Queensland Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington has promised to shut down bail houses if the LNP is elected. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)
Queensland Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington has promised to shut down bail houses if the LNP is elected. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

 

By those estimates, taxpayers would be billed $78,000 for an average stay by a young person at a Townsville bail house. The total bill for 2018/19 would be about $4.68 million.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington called it an "obscene waste" of taxpayer money on a "failed experiment".

"Teenage thugs are ruling the streets of Townsville because Annastacia Palaszczuk's juvenile crime policies are failing," she said.

A State Government spokeswoman defended the bail houses, saying many of the young children who stayed there were homeless, had no family support, or experienced significant trauma.

"We do not want to see these young people back on the streets offending - we are committed to keeping the community safe," she said.

"The cost of reoffending to the community is very high and victims of crime would say "too high" and we have a duty to the community to do everything we can to reduce youth crime in Townsville.

"We must also consider avoided court costs, the costs of supervised community orders and the costs of police interactions if young people are not being properly supported and supervised."

Bail houses were viewed as a means to address overcrowding in youth detention centres by reducing Queensland's rate of youth on remand, which consistently sits above 80 per cent.

The State Government has set aside $12-$13 million on bail houses to be spent every year until the end of the 2023 financial year.

The Townsville Bulletin last week revealed a total eight kids had committed new offences while living in the local bail houses in 2018/19.

Children living at the facilities also committed 317 curfew breaches, significantly more than the children in Logan (47) and Carbrook (62).



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