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New Young Offenders Law On The Way Warns Mark

11 February 2004

New Young Offenders Law On The Way Warns Mark

New Zealand First law and order spokesperson Ron Mark is introducing a Private Members bill to help stop young offenders from developing into hardened criminals as is happening under the Government’s current ‘soft ‘ policies towards youth crime.

“Young people who do wrong are being given endless understanding, compassion and sympathy and this ignores the need to face up to their mistakes. As a result they go on to becoming adult offenders,” Mr Mark.

“The present leniency of the courts towards young offenders is not in society’s best interest long term and this needs to be rectified.

“As one who personally has faced the crossroads between a life of crime or one of making a worthwhile and positive contribution to society, I feel I can speak from experience and knowledge on this issue.

“If a short sharp jolt does not follow the first sign of offending, we run the real risk of losing the opportunity forever and yet another young offender is soon serving an apprenticeship to become a more serious adult criminal.

“I am introducing a Private Members Bill designed to:

(a) Amend the legal position of children who commit serious offences;
(b) Amend the range of ‘serious offences’ carried out by young offenders;
(c) Remove the present protection enjoyed by young offenders preventing them from being held to account for criminal offending;
(d) Reduce the age of responsibility for serious offending by youths to 10 years of age

“It is time to treat seriously those young people who elect to embark upon a path of crime, and it is our responsibility as politicians to deter them as quickly and effectively as possible,” concluded Mr Mark

ENDS

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