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Robson calls for stronger early intervention push

14 August 2003

Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Robson calls for stronger early intervention push

There needs to be a much stronger push to intervene with young people before they start on a life of a crime, Progressive MP Matt Robson said today.

He was commenting following the release of national crime figures showing total reported crime increased by 2.5 percent in the last year against a population increase of 1.9%.

Matt Robson, who is a former Corrections Minister, says far longer sentences have failed to produce the dramatic declines in crime rates that promoters promised and more needs to be done.

“The main reason that crime rates have virtually stabilised is that unemployment is down. If National, Act and NZ First were in power, unemployment would be up and crime would be far worse.

“But there is much more needed to be done. Rather predictably, criminals aren’t being deterred by the threat of thirty year prison terms.

“If we want safer communities, then we need to intervene strongly with kids before they start out on a life of crime. Early intervention works best and costs less.

“An intervention with an angry and defiant five year old costs $5000 and has a 70 percent chance of success. The same intervention at age twenty costs $20,000 and has a 20 percent chance of success.

“Programmes that strengthen family, school and education environments for children and teenagers at highest risk are the best way to bring down crime rates,” Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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