Youth boot camps come under fire

AN INTERNATIONAL welfare group has called on the State Government to rethink its Sentenced Youth Boot Camps for young off-enders.

Save the Children claims the boot camps program is not fulfilling its role of preparing young offenders to re-enter the community.

The group also wants the government to provide greater investment in programs that empower rather than punish.

The calls come as the leading child rights organisation delivered a submission, entitled Safer Streets Crime Action Plan - Youth Justice, to the Queensland Department of Justice.

The submission calls for significant improvements to the Sentenced Youth Boot Camps model before it can be considered effective to stop the cycle of youth crime.

Save the Children says boot campers are not adequately prepared to re-enter the community after camps and that the boot camp structure unfairly targets and further alienates vulnerable young people due to its punitive approach.

Save the Children Queensland manager Jason Ware said there were far better ways than boot camps to support young people in the juvenile justice system.

"While there is some evidence that boot camps can help reduce reoffending in the short-term, this reduction is not sustained over time," Mr Ware said.

"From our experience, a personal, treatment-based model works best."

Mr Ware said it was important to choose a more positive path, rather than try to "force behavioural changes upon them".