2 March, 2024

Woodford Youth Detention Centre

Construction of a new Youth Detention Centre in Woodford has officially begun, with the sod turning taking place yesterday (Tuesday).

Artists impression.
Artists impression.

With a projected construction cost of up to $627.61 million, the centre will include therapeutic design elements, aimed at supporting the rehabilitation of young people and improving community safety.

The new 80 bed facility will include more home-like accommodation units, consultation and treatment rooms, multi-purpose spaces for education, skills development and training, areas for physical exercise, green spaces, and spaces for cultural connection.

Premier Steven Miles said he wants serious and repeat off enders to be reprimanded and detained, but also rehabilitated, which is the goal of this new centre.

“The new centre at Woodford will be a secure location that detention and rehabilitation can occur, with a focus on education, vocation and job readiness skills,” he said.

“In turn, we hope young people leave detention with the skills to live productively in the community, to feel confident in themselves and motivated to turn their life around.”

The design of the centre also considers and incorporates First Nations knowledge and culture, with the Jinibara People Aboriginal Corporation providing guidance and expertise on important elements including spaces for community, cultural connection, gardens, green spaces, vegetation, landscaping and wayfinding.

“A big focus will be developing and delivering cultural connection programs in partnership with Elders, which we know can make a big difference in the lives of young First Nations people,” Mr Miles said.

Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer emphasised the importance of focusing on rehabilitation and reintegration, as well as detention, to ensure these young off enders don’t come back in the system.

“Therapeutic models of care work to address the complex underlying causes of off ending, with an emphasis on individualised treatment plans,” she said.

“Importantly, I want to see an emphasis on mental health support, because we know many young off enders have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect, often key triggers which lead to off ending.

“We also know that young people who leave therapeutic detention have a reduction in recidivism when they have completed a detention sentence.”

BESIX Watpac (QLD) Pty Ltd will manage the design and construction of the new detention centre, expected to be completed by 2026.

The new Youth Detention Centre at Woodford, plus a proposed new 40-bed centre near Cairns, will add 120 beds to the state’s youth detention capacity.

By 2026, the government will have almost doubled the number of youth detention beds since coming to off ice in 2015.


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