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Youth Drug Court pilot needs reviewed

Youth Drug Court pilot needs reviewed

National is calling for an immediate review of the Youth Drug Court pilot in Christchurch, following reports of serious reoffending by 16 of the 20 youths dealt with by the Court.

Leading Canterbury Youth aid coordinator Sergeant Chris Ropes has been censured for revealing 132 further offences by the 16 young offenders, following their Youth Drug Court appearances.

"If these figures are correct, it is time the Youth Drug Court was knocked on the head. It's not working," National Police Spokesman Tony Ryall says.

"Over recent weeks I've been talking with drug counsellors and rehabilitation staff. What's clear is that drug users need to be confronted, dealt with firmly and made to accept responsibility.

"Specialist drug courts do work elsewhere around the world. This pilot in Christchurch has obviously been set up wrongly.

"The Minister of Justice should immediately review the pilot programme. We have been trying for a year to get information about the pilot. Although Police did prepare actual reoffending data in response to National's written parliamentary questions the Government refused to release the information. It's now clear why they covered up these appalling statistics.

"National is not criticising the Judge involved. We think the way the pilot was set up is the problem," Mr Ryall said.

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