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New Youth Justice Centre planned

Tue, 8 Jun 2004

New Youth Justice Centre planned for Bay of Plenty/Waikato region

Preliminary work to build a new 24-bed youth justice residence in the Bay of Plenty/Waikato area, will begin soon, Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson announced today.

The government has approved approximately $3 million for work to start soon on finding a site, getting Resource Management Act approvals and purchasing land.

"The new residence is a key initiative in the 2003 Residential Services Strategy, which has now been signed off by the government," Ruth Dyson said.

"Child, Youth and Family currently has 90 youth justice beds following the opening of its Youth Justice North residence in Manukau in January. The residence, which replaced the 25 youth justice beds at the Northern Residential Centre at Weymouth, added 15 beds to the national youth justice residential capacity. It has 40 beds and a six bed Criminal Justice Unit, which has been transferred from Kingslea in Christchurch.

"The Youth Justice South residence currently under development in Rolleston, near Christchurch, will add another 12 new youth justice beds nationally. It will replace the 20 youth justice beds at the existing Kingslea residence. The new centre is expected to open in August 2005, by which time the national capacity for youth justice beds will total 102," Ruth Dyson said.

The Youth Justice Lower North facility in Palmerston North has 30 beds.

"The additional beds in Auckland and Christchurch will go some way to reducing the need to hold young people in police cells. However, the department's own forecasting indicates that demand for residential beds will continue to grow.

"Officials are predicting that 24 additional youth justice residential beds will be needed in the future to meet a growing population in the Bay of Plenty/Waikato region. A local residence will improve opportunities to accommodate young people relatively close to their home communities and family/whanau support."

The Department expects to seek resource consent for up to 40-beds at the Bay of Plenty/Waikato residence to provide additional future capacity if needed. The new residence is unlikely to open before 2007/08.


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