Government: Horizon didn't address the target group

A SPOKESPERSON for Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath responded to two questions The Morning Bulletin asked about funding for the Horizon Early Intervention Program.

Funding for the program was cut when the Palaszczuk government announced they would not continue supporting a series of youth offender boot camps rolled out by the previous Newman government.

Why will the government not give funding to a program that was making a difference and turned many young people in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast away from committing crimes?

While the government is informed by the experiences of those young people who took part in the Horizon program, the decision was taken not to continue with this particular model.

MORE: Air force goals after Horizon turned teen's life around

This is because, while early intervention has always been a central part of the Palaszczuk Government's youth justice strategy, the previous LNP government's Youth Boot Camp trial was expensive and ultimately unsuccessful.

An independent KPMG report found the trial, which was budgeted to cost $2million over two years, blew out to $16.7 million.

It also found the young people who took part in the Horizon Early Intervention Program in Rockhampton were not those recidivist offenders who commit the vast majority of youth crimes - it didn't address the target population.

The Horizon camp was supposed to target young people at risk of becoming offenders, but the report found those engaged were always "unlikely to become future offenders".

The Palaszczuk Government is committed to early intervention programs and allocated $23.6 million in the budget to reinstate court-referred youth justice conferencing, which was axed by the former government.

This means young people who have committed a crime sit down with their victims and hear about the impact of their offending. This is a proven diversionary justice program that will help divert young people from detention and makes them accountable for their behaviour.

The Palaszczuk Government is committed to evidence-based programs that draw upon existing services and resources to divert young people from the criminal justice system and support their families.

What support has been given to those people who were completing the program when the funding was cut?

All families and young people will be offered an alternative mentoring arrangement to be provided by Youth Justice or an alternative service provider.

The Rockhampton Early Intervention Youth Boot Camp is responsible for delivering services to 18 young people in the mentoring phase of this program until the contract expires on September 29.

Topics:  horizon early intervention program rockhampton

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