Executive Summary This Is A Report Of A
This is a report of a quarterly statutory inspection of the Brisbane
Youth Detention Centre (BYDC). The on-site inspection occurred from 27
to 31 August 2018. Statutory detention centre inspections are
conducted by delegated inspectors, located within Governance,
Corporate Services. A report of each inspection is provided to the
The focus areas under inspection in this quarter were education and
training, programs and purposeful activity, use of force and incident
reporting (including harm reporting). In gathering evidence,
Inspectors visited all units over the inspection week and spoke to
staff and young people in each unit as well as a private group
discussion with the Young Person Liaison Committee.
The Inspectorate’s focus in the first two areas of education and
programs concentrated on outcomes, for example, the attainment of
qualifications and whether there is a seamless transition for young
people to continue education and programs commenced before, during and
after their detention period.
The key observations, findings and recommendations in relation to the
focus areas are summarised below. Other issues raised and discussed
with relevant centre managers and the acting Senior Executive
Director, Youth Justice Services during and immediately following the
Focus Area 1 – Education and Training
Advice and attendance records provided to inspectors indicate a
positive increase in the delivery of school sessions since the first
term. School attendance is a priority unless there is proper
justification and a risk assessment as to why individual young people
should not attend class.
School attendance recording cannot be fully captured (e.g. which young
person attended each school session) by the Education Queensland (EQ)
‘One School’ program. This is due to issues specific to detention, for
example, young person throughput, section movements and young person
conflicts that restrict who can attend class together. The report
recommends addressing this in collaboration with EQ to provide better
records of attendance including reasons for absence.
There were some good examples of Vocational Education and Training
(VET) participation occurring at BYDC including Cert 3 Fitness and
Forklift Accreditation but this was limited due to age and
remand/sentenced status. More VET and job readiness training is
required to give young people the best opportunity to successfully
reintegrate into the community. This was communicated to inspectors by
the young people themselves.
More courses are scheduled to become available in 2018-19 but EQ
advised there is difficulty retaining TAFE involvement in BYDC and
cost is an issue. The inspectorate recommends investigating value for
money options to engage young people in VET courses and job readiness
training while on centre and through transition, with incentives for
retaining young people in courses through to completion. Other options
may also include providing adequate supervision to enable young people
to attend TAFE on campus.
Focus Area 2 – Programs and Purposeful Activity
There is a lack of communication between the case workers within BYDC
and those in the Youth Justice Service Centres (YJSCs) when it comes
to the continuation of programs commenced whilst detained and services
required when supervised in the community.
Reintegration needs to be a major focus as soon as a young person is
received into detention to allow adequate planning for a successful
life in the community and reduce recidivism.
A focus group of young people requested more programs to teach job
interview and general life-skills as well as better links to
accommodation and employment/education prior to and post release.
Young people advised that while in detention they have positive
support and good intentions, however, they feel lost and fall back
into the same cycle due to a lack of coordinated support in the
community. The young people spoken with weren’t familiar with the
department’s vocational training and therapeutic service, Transition 2
Success (T2S), as availability is limited to only a few locations
which prevents many of the young people participating in this program
in the Brisbane catchment area.
Many young people on remand may only spend up to a few days in
detention and often have little to no participation in programs or
links to community services. While in detention, even if only for a
short period, there is an opportunity to at least link these young
people with services and this opportunity should be maximised.
Young people on remand, which make up 86% of the population can
participate in general communication and emotional regulation programs
but can’t have criminogenic needs addressed until they are sentenced
and these programs are also very limited for sentenced young people.
Regardless of remand/sentenced status, a high number of young people
would benefit from receiving criminogenic education as a preventative
measure and to positively influence their peers.
Focus Area 3 – Use of Force
Youth Justice Service statistics as at August 2018, show that while
the number of incidents remains steady, the monthly rate of force used
per incident at BYDC is at its highest point in three years. The
frequency of use of force per incident has been consistently rising
since July 2017. At this time the Inspectorate isn’t able to determine
the cause of the rise in frequency but recommends the Youth Justice
Service Review team work with BYDC to analyse and address this issue.
Feedback from Youth Justice Services indicates drivers may relate to
the change in cohort of young people in detention, training competency
benchmarks and mandatory training, and rates of experienced versus new
staff in the centre as a result of increased recruitment.
While the frequency of use of force has increased, complaints relating
to the use of force handled internally at BYDC are quite low with 20
matters received from March to September 2018, approximately 10 of
which are under investigation with the Professional Standards Unit
(PSU). The Inspectorate’s review of incident data also confirms the
issue communicated by PSU that incident reports lack sufficient level
of detail to justify why force was used which then impacts the
resolution of investigations.
Focus Area 4 – Incident Reporting (includes Harm Reporting)
The issues around staff capability and quality of reports discussed in
this report are known to Youth Justice Services and work is underway
to address this through training. However, in the short term the
Inspectorate recommends that Youth Justice Services amend Detention
Centre Operations Information System (DCOIS) to prompt more detailed
information from staff, in the same way the paper-based incident
reports did before the implementation of DCOIS in 2011.
The current workflow of incident review was resulting in some extended
delays past the mandatory review period at the time of inspection. The
timeframes (five days for level 1 incidents and 14 days for others)
are there to ensure the timely management of young people and staff
wellbeing and the immediate treatment of root causes of multiple
incidents. Delays appear to be due to longer than expected relieving
arrangements in middle management with inadequate up-skilling of
relieving staff. While the Inspectorate understands those incident
reviews with the longest delays have since been completed, incident
review delays remain an issue and the report recommends improvements.
BYDC has implemented a new harm process which involves caseworkers
reviewing all incidents for indicators of physical and emotional harm
to young people. Caseworkers will then follow-up with the young person
to check on their wellbeing and make the necessary arrangements to
address any concerns. The Deputy Director overseeing the casework and
behaviour support teams also reviews incidents to provide a level of
assurance that potential harm is identified and treated.
A number of issues were observed by inspectors and raised directly
with BYDC management. Notable issues include:
the continuation of medical treatment commenced before admission
delayed deployment of body-worn cameras which have been proven to
improve behaviour and reduce incidents, complaints and
investigation timeframes; and
delayed operation of the contraband detection scanner which is
intended to drastically reduce the need for searches of young
people that require removal of clothing.