The crisis in the youth justice system under Annastacia Palaszczuk has been exposed by an ABC investigation into harrowing cases of children as young as 10 held in maximum security watch-houses designed for adults only.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said a trove of more than 500 files laid bare traumatic stories of children held for weeks on end and distressing incidents, including cases of self-harm and a young female placed in a pod with two alleged male sex offenders.
“This scandal is a direct consequence of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s failure to plan for enough youth detention beds while simultaneously adopting a policy to move 17-year-olds out of adult prisons,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Juveniles must be held accountable for their crimes, but they belong in dedicated facilities instead of police watch-houses.
“We warned Annastacia Palaszczuk she risked a disaster by putting kids in watch-houses, but she didn’t listen and today she stands condemned.
“I suspect we will see distressing scenes on Four Corners tonight and all of Australia will witness the breathtaking incompetence of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor Government.
“I’ll be very interested to know which Palaszczuk Labor Government Ministers have been caught up in this scandal.
“Children jammed in police watch-houses isn’t a ‘transition’ – it’s a train wreck.”
Ms Frecklington said the disastrous effects of Labor’s latest jail fail has seen the police overtime budget triple in the last year while they deal with juvenile criminals as well.
“I feel so sorry for our hard-working police officers. This is a law and order policy failure that doesn’t help rehabilitate youth offenders and puts police at breaking point,” she said.
“Police Minister Mark Ryan previously denied 10-year-olds were in police watch-houses, so he has either been caught out in a lie or is incompetent and unaware of crucial issues in his portfolio.
“I, like many Queenslanders, will watch tonight with interest.”