Jason Brian Tenardi pleaded guilty to nine charges in Maroochydore Magistrates Court including failure to stop and obstructing police.
Jason Brian Tenardi pleaded guilty to nine charges in Maroochydore Magistrates Court including failure to stop and obstructing police. Facebook

Judge slams government over lack of support for prisoners

AN outspoken judge has slammed the Queensland government, saying it is "scandalous" for not providing adequate education and rehabilitation options for some drug users in prison.

Justice Peter Applegarth was scathing in his assessment of the situation while sentencing long-time drug addict and dealer Jason Brian Tenardi on multiple charges in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The Beerwah 21-year-old spent the past eight months behind bars at Woodford Correctional Centre.

Despite wanting to use this time to better himself, the young addict was unable to enrol in any courses or seek behaviour change support because these are only available for felons who have been sentenced.

Because he was denied access to these options, he could not show the court he was making attempts to clean up his life.

This resulted in a further two months behind bars.

Productivity Commission research shows it costs about $302 a night to keep people in jail, meaning Queensland taxpayers will fork out $18,000 for the extra time Tenardi is locked up.

Pleading guilty to two charges of possessing a dangerous drug and one each of obstructing police and possessing utensils, Tenardi was sentenced to two years with eligibility for parole on May 20, 2019.

Tenardi was found with methamphetamine, marijuana, clip-seal bags and a scale in Beerwah last July.

The obstruct police charge related to him doing a runner when police came knocking.

Tenardi has been a drug user and seller since turning 12 and has notched up a lengthy criminal history following his first arrest as a 17-year-old homeless youth.

Justice Applegarth told Tenardi the Department of Corrections and the Queensland Treasury had let the offender and the state's taxpayers down by not ensuring vocational, education, rehabilitation and life skills courses were available to all prisoners.

He said if Tenardi had been given access to these he would have been eligible for parole as soon as the sentencing hearing finished.

Instead, Justice Applegarth said there was no option but to return Tenardi to prison.

"It's unbelievable that someone with so much need for treatment and counselling for a drug habit ... to be in custody for the past eight months and you have not been on a course," Justice Applegarth said.

"It's breathtaking - he is at the crossroads.

"If the Queensland Treasury did some cost-benefit analysis - if vocational training was provided, it might reduce his risk of re-offending.

"It is a no-brainer that if the treasury wanted to invest in the future to avoid astronomical costs of someone being in jail for years, they would invest dollars in giving prisoners life skills education and behaviour change therapy."

Justice Applegarth said Tenardi deserved to go to the "top of the list" for support over the coming months.  

Corrective Minister Mark Ryan said that last financial year Queensland Corrective Services delivered over 3600 completions of rehabilitation programs, of which over 2200 were directed to addressing substance misuse.

"The government's view is that educational and rehabilitation programs should be available to anyone wishing to participate," Mr Ryan said.

"But there is always room for improvement in the delivery of these services." - NewsRegional