New program to steer Cherbourg youth in right direction
BREAKING the cycle in re-offending is the latest approach to curbing the number of Cherbourg youth in detention centres.
Youth justice minister Di Farmer announced the $280,000 additional bail support funding in Cherbourg on Wednesday, and said the money would be allocated soon.
The programs were expected to commence from February next year, with a focus on encouraging the youth into more constructive activities like education, training and their involvement in the community.
"That's going to move the young people through the justice system quickly, and channel them into those more positive activities,” Ms Farmer said.
Previous research has shown young people who spend long periods of time in detention are 100 per cent guaranteed to re-offend, and the bail support would get them out of detention, she said.
"We know the community wants young people to be accountable for their actions, but they also do not want young people to be re-offending, they want to solve that problem, they want to change that story,” Ms Farmer said.
Cherbourg mayor Arnold Murray hoped the new program would work and said council were willing to give it a go.
"With that funding, hopefully we can steer them away from the bad things and hopefully steer them in the right direction,” he said.
The State Government will work with the community to determine what activities and programs will suit Cherbourg best.
"Hopefully it will open up new doors for these kids and maybe start a journey for these children for a better future,” Cr Murray said.
Particular programs with documented success would be considered to assist the bail support, including providing employment training opportunities, getting the youth back to school, and getting the young people to confront their victims, apologising for what they had done.
Cherbourg Ration Shed's chairwoman Sandra Morgan said one program would not solve the problem, however it could help work towards a solution.
"It doesn't have to be a big program, just family time, you can't beat family time,” she said.
It was a difficult situation as some of the youth caught up in the crimes came from good, supportive families, Ms Morgan said.
Shared family and community time would help improve the situation, such as the men's group taking the young boys out to the bush or fishing, she said.
"Someone to share their time, and they might then unload some of the problems they are holding in,” Ms Morgan said.
"I'd like to see a big change for the better, they're our future, so we'd like to say it with pride and not have doubts about whether they would make the future generations better or worse.”
Nanango member Deb Frecklington said the bail support announcement was a joke.
"This Government has no idea about how they are being so soft on crime, and the effect it is having on our communities,” she said.
Ms Frecklington said it was not enough for the money to only be released February next year.
"Our community needs to feel safe right now, they need boots on the ground and they need resources,” she said.