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Soft Deal For Young Criminals

At the very time when New Zealanders are demanding a tougher approach to crime, the Government has come out with a reported $26 million package designed to be soft on young criminals, National's Corrections spokesperson Brian Neeson said today.

"Since Labour and the Alliance took office we have seen increased violent crime and fewer police on the beat.

"While the bulk of Mr Robson's announcement simply follows conventional wisdom, his plan for young drug dealers and burglars to be 'sentenced' to report to a day centre five days a week for six months defies all logic.

"Expecting that sentencing young offenders to day reporting centres will fix the crime problem is typical of Matt Robson's rose-tinted view of the world.

"I have grave doubts about the day reporting centres. There is no deterrent in Mr Robson's plans instead he refers to 'significant rewards' for participation. It seems like a pretty cushy deal for young offenders whose peers will ask themselves why don't they try and earn a bit of pocket money by dealing drugs or burgling the homes of elderly people.

"Allowing young drug dealers and burglars to continue living in the home they were in when they committed the offence and telling them to turn up to a centre once a day can hardly be seen as punishment.

"Rehabilitation programmes for people already in the prison system are nothing new.

"It was National that supported, initiated and expanded the early intervention programmes Mr Robson trumpets. Last year in the Labour-Alliance budget there was no new money for Family Start and no new money for Social Workers in Schools - another early intervention initiative.

"Matt Robson has continually thumbed his nose at the 92% of New Zealanders who wanted a tougher approach to crime. He hasn't earned the right to experiment in this way," Mr Neeson said.


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