More than 200 children in Queensland’s youth justice system or considered at risk of offending have successfully completed a program to rehabilitate young offenders and reduce crime.
Queensland Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard yesterday announced the graduation of the largest cohort of children aged 15-17 from the State Government’s Transition to Success (T2S) program ؘ– a vocational training and therapeutic service – since it began in 2015.
Ms Linard said the T2S program saw a record number of graduates in 2021 as a result of a funding boost that enabled it to expand to 20 locations throughout Queensland.
“I’m delighted to see the program going from strength to strength since it began as a home-grown initiative over seven years ago,” she said. “There have been 207 graduates in the past year alone.
“T2S works well because it offers alternative education and vocational training to young people in the youth justice system and those at risk of entering it as a way of helping them build a brighter future.
“Many of the participants had dropped out of mainstream schooling for a variety of reasons, but with the help of dedicated youth justice staff, they’re working to leave their past behind.”
The T2S program kicked off as a pilot project in 2015 to provide employment training and support services in a community setting for 15 to 17 year olds involved in the youth justice system or who were assessed as being at-risk of entering it.
Since its inception, T2S has seen more than 600 young people graduate, resulting in a 67% reduction in reoffending by participants within the first 12 months.
The program has also resulted in T2S participants spending less time in youth detention – down from 1.8 nights per month to an average of 1.1 nights.
In 2018, an independent evaluation of the program by Deloitte Access Economics found T2S graduates were less likely to offend, while spending less time in detention and engaging in further education, employment and training, or a pursuing work via a job active provider.
A cost-benefit analysis of the program, also conducted by Deloitte, showed that for every $1 spent on T2S, $2.13 worth of benefits flowed to the government and the community by way of a reduction in youth crime reoffending.
Ms Linard said yesterday that T2S would continue to work closely with businesses, councils, schools, training organisations and community groups on the next phase to help young people into jobs, work experience, training, or further education.
“The evidence shows that supporting young people to access education and employment pathways reduces offending, improves community safety, and this program is doing exactly that.”
In 2021, T2S participants completed a range of certificates across the state, including farm hand, horticulture, and construction courses.
Participants graduated from the program in six different regions, including:
- Far North (Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Aurukun) – 29 graduates
- North (Townsville, Mount Isa, Mackay) – 27 graduates
- Central (Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast) – 55 graduates
- Moreton (Caboolture, Redcliffe, Brisbane North and South) – 47 graduates
- South-west (Ipswich, Cherbourg, Western Districts, Toowoomba) – 34 graduates
- South-east (Logan and Gold Coast) – 15 graduates.
Ms Linard said that, while T2S focused on building skills for the workplace, it also emphasised helping young people develop important life skills.
“The participants are learning attributes such as punctuality, communication and teamwork,” Ms Linard said. “And where needed, they’re being connected to support services to help them with issues that could affect their capacity to stay in education or find work.
“This includes services that tackle drug and alcohol misuse or provide stable accommodation. This is particularly important as it is an opportunity to address some of the factors that can lead some young people to offend.”
The 2020-21 State Budget allocated $7.43 million to deliver the T2S program.