Figures released by the Productivity Commission in January this year show Queensland jails more children than any other state or territory in Australia. 

In 2021-2022, there were on average 287 people in youth detention in Queensland each day. Almost two thirds of those kids in custody were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. 

The figures also show more than half of youth offenders who come out of jail go back for new offences within 12 months. It costs $1 800 per day to keep a child in jail, which translates into a total of $162 million dollars a year for Queensland.

The Wire’s Netta Finney spoke with Bernie Shakeshaft, Founder and Managing Director of Backtrack Youthworks, an organisation that works with kids doing it tough, about what he thinks of the Queensland government’s new plan to combat youth crime, which includes tougher sentencing and two new youth jails.

Kids helpline: 1800 55 1800  |  13YARN: 13 92 76  |  Lifeline: 13 11 14

Produced By: Netta Finney

Featured In Story: Bernie Shakeshaft – Founder and Managing Director of Backtrack Youthworks

First aired on The Wire, Friday 31 March 2023