Bail house kids breaching curfews

PRESSURE  is mounting on Townsville's controversial bail houses as youths facing criminal charges constantly breach curfew at the facilities.

The supervised community accommodation facilities are designed to house youths awaiting court matters to be finalised.

The two houses in Townsville, as well as two more in the south, have $12 million allocated each year up to 2023 but are currently subject to review.

There were 529 critical incidents reported at the four houses last financial year, with 82 per cent of those related to breach of curfew.

The LNP said it would immediately close the facilities if elected next year.

Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki said the facilities were adding to Townsville's "crime crisis".

"More than 500 critical incidents prove the young criminals in these bailhouses are out of control," Mr Janetzki said.

"Labor's $70 million failed experiment simply puts young offenders on bail in the middle of a community where they can easily commit more crime.

"An elected LNP government in 2020 would close Labor's bailhouses once and for all and we'd bring back breach of bail as an offence as well. This would save an enormous amount of taxpayer money and ensure young offenders are in dedicated youth detention facilities, not roaming the streets."

Minister for Woman Di Farmer and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Minister for Woman Di Farmer and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Photographer: Liam Kidston

Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer said the curfew at the Townsville bailhouses was 7pm and any breach of curfew was classified as a "critical incident".

"This means that if a young person returns to the SCA at five minutes past the curfew time, it's recorded as a critical incident," Ms Farmer said.

"Eighty-two per cent of critical incidents in SCAs related to breaches of curfew.

"The remaining 18 per cent of breaches include breaches of house rules such as not ­handing in a phone when required."

Ms Farmer said police were advised if a young person was not complying with bail conditions.

An evaluation of Supervised Community Accommodation has been undertaken by Griffith University, while global accountancy firm Ernst & Young is working with the Department of Youth Justice to examine the cost-effectiveness of the program.

In parliamentary estimates last week, Department of Youth Justice director general Bob Gee said the Griffith University report had been submitted and made a number of recommendations, but was "limited". He said he had made contact with the report authors to address more issues.