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Queensland Is Imprisoning More Children Than Anywhere In Australia

A new report has found that Queensland is imprisoning more children than any state in Australia in terms of raw numbers, incarcerating 267 children on an average night last year.

The report by the Justice Reform Initiative has found that the incarceration rate is significantly higher than anywhere else in the country, and the figure continues to rise.

Since 2020, Queensland has detained the highest number of children in custody among all Australian states.

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The cost of imprisonment is substantial, with annual operating expenses exceeding $218 million for children.

“Jailling is failing young Australians”, the report described.

The findings show that most of the young people in Australia’s juvenile justice system come from backgrounds where they often suffer severe neglect or abuse.

The total incarceration rate in Queensland is also the fastest growing in the country, rising 44 per cent in the past decade.

More than two-thirds of individuals incarcerated in the state have been previously in imprisoned, while over one-third are currently being held on remand.

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Executive Director of the Justice Reform Initiative, Dr Mindy Sotiri, said, “Queensland’s entrenched political default to incarceration had failed to deter crime or protect the community”.

“The research is very clear that imprisonment not only fails to reduce crime but does so at extraordinary expense and harm to the community,” Dr Sotiri said.

She said taxpayers were faced with the burden of funding prison expansions throughout the state and constructing two new youth detention centres, projected to surpass $1 billion in costs.

“This is a system in crisis. It is time to acknowledge we cannot imprison our way to a safer society. We need to follow the evidence and focus attention and resources on programs that build pathways out of the criminal justice system.”

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