Operation Hard Yakka participants Jerome Oakley and Joshua Warner with Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and chief trainer Bob Davis during barrack inspection.
Operation Hard Yakka participants Jerome Oakley and Joshua Warner with Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and chief trainer Bob Davis during barrack inspection. Alistair Brightman

Tough love for young crime

A FRASER Coast boot camp could be the key to a complete overhaul of how young criminals are dealt with in Queensland.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie yesterday visited Operation Hard Yakka, run by former Special Forces instructor Bob Davis, to gain a better understanding of how boot camps can break the cycle of youth crime.

Mr Bleijie said the visit would provide valuable input into the structure of the LNP's boot camp trial for juvenile offenders, which could eventually become a sentencing option for the courts.

"Our three-month intensive boot camp will be offered as a sentencing option for kids to keep them out of detention and give them a chance for genuine rehabilitation," Mr Bleijie said.

"Youth justice is a priority for the LNP.

"Through our boot camp trial we want to change the culture of youth crime and reduce the number of repeat offenders by teaching kids about values, respect and responsibility.

"What we have in Queensland is a situation where approximately 32% of our young offenders serve five times or more in juvenile detentions centres," Mr Bleijie said.

"What's happening though, is they get out and they go straight back to either the abusive family they came from, or they go back to the community that doesn't support them, or they go back to a youth gang and then back into juvenile detention.

"We want new and innovative ways to address juvenile justice issues in Queensland."

Mr Bleijie toured the military-style training camp at Susan River and met with some young participants.

Mr Davis, who is lobbying the government for funding, said the 28-day boot camp cost $6000 for one juvenile.

He said that was low when you considered it ran for just 28 days.

This compared with a cost of $70,000 to keep one juvenile in detention for one year.

Mr Davis said the 'tough love' camp was about re-focusing the energies of troubled teens and teaching them life skills like discipline, respect, teamwork and communication.

"It's not about breaking their spirit, but redirecting their spirit," he said.



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