Six staff members within Queensland’s Youth Justice Department have been sacked amid dozens of cases of corruption.
More than 50 separate corruption matters were reported to authorities over the last financial year — 38 of those were substantiated.
The matters related to inappropriate conduct or criminal behaviour, excessive force, failure to adhere to departmental policies, providing false information, misuse of authority and breaching confidentiality.
The exact details of each of the cases have been withheld by the department.
Of the 38 substantiated cases, 22 were referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), two to the Queensland Police Service and four to the Queensland Ombudsman.
A department spokeswoman said Queensland’s two youth detention centres have recently undergone upgrades to better monitor the detainees and staff.
«Youth Detention Centres are complex environments and that is why both our centres have undergone security upgrades over the last 12 months including CCTV upgrades, to ensure the safety of young people, their families, visitors and staff,» she said.
«New laws were also passed in August to enable body worn cameras in youth detention centres and we expect their introduction over the next two months.
«The overwhelming majority of youth justice staff work to a high standard and we are proud of the work that they do to help young people turn their lives around.
«However a very small number of staff sometimes do the wrong thing.»
|Substantiated corruption matters within the last year|
|Inappropriate conduct or criminal behaviour||39%|
|Failure to adhere to legislation and/or departmental policy and practice guidelines||20%|
|Provide false and/or misleading information||12%|
|Misuse of authority||3%|
|Breach of confidentiality/inappropriate disclosure of information||1%|
|Supplied: Department of Youth Justice|
Over the last year, ABC News has revealed several cases of concern regarding children being held in police watch houses, with youth detention centres at capacity.
In May, the Premier announced Youth Justice would become its own standalone department, separating it from the combined portfolio with Child Safety and Women.
Kids ‘shouldn’t be used as punching bags’
Opposition spokesman for youth justice David Janetzki said the high rates of excessive force were alarming.
«When you’ve got 25 per cent of all corruption matters being related to excessive force, it’s not surprising to hear that staff have been let go,» he said.
«Kids in the youth justice system shouldn’t be used as punching bags. They need to be educated and given the skills and the opportunities to help turn their lives around.»
Mr Janetzki called on the State Government to release details of the cases.
«These are serious matters — they deserve full scrutiny of the public — and I think it is appropriate for the Palaszczuk Labor government to explain the nature of these matters and what has been done about them,» he said.
«We’re not talking about minor matters here, these are serious matters.»