'Community wants a boot camp for Ipswich'

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale has backed local MPs' push to have a youth boot camp in the region as the State Government is poised to open three new facilities across the state in September.

Ipswich West MP Sean Choat and Ipswich MP Ian Berry used a budget estimates hearing in Queensland Parliament to seek a meeting with Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie about the program's expansion to their electorates. Mr Berry said at the estimates hearing that Cr Pisasale also was on board while Mr Choat was also vocal.

"We are very keen to discuss potential locations for boot camps. I have a lot of community support," Mr Choat told Mr Bleijie in the hearing. Mr Bleijie - who will announce tenders for boot camps at Rockhampton, Townsville and the North Coast in the next fortnight - is yet to commit to anything in Ipswich.

Cr Pisasale said the judiciary system was not working and that boot camps were "the only way to get our young kids on the straight and narrow and give them a chance in life".

"The judiciary system has got to find a way of getting our young kids focused on rehabilitation," he said

"The boot camps could include growing vegetables for nursing homes, making toys for shelters and doing something worthwhile. I'd have organisations like TAFE Queensland involved so while they are in there they have an opportunity to learn some skills.

"They need to go to a place where there are consequences for their actions, but not put them in jail where they turn into hardened criminals. Everybody in life makes mistakes...and I believe that 90 per cent of these kids can be turned around. I've been pushing this for 10 years."

Justice Department Director-General John Sosso said it was important to select boot camp locations in a "safe environment" for both the juveniles involved but "more importantly for the community". Mr Bleijie said it cost $250,000 a year for a juvenile detainee and a $100,000 a year if they ended up in the adult jails.

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