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Research highlights youth crime problems

4 October 2004

Research highlights youth crime problems

Fresh research on youth offending highlights why it is essential that changes are made to the youth justice system, says National Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"This is yet more evidence of the crumbling justice system," says Mr Ryall.

He is commenting on a Social Development Ministry study which found that two thirds of the young criminals dealt with by family group conferences reoffend, and that one in five end up behind bars within three years.

"This proves what National has been saying all along," says Mr Ryall. "The family group conference system is not working and we will put limits on it.

"Dr Brash outlined this in his speech on law and order in July.

"The system is not working for the hard-core 5% who keep reoffending. The best way to deal with them is to lower the age of criminal responsibility and get them into the Youth Court sooner. We will limit a young offender to two family group conferences.

"National will give Youth Court judges more power to deal with young offenders. And we will expect more from their parents.

"These youths are not little angels and must be dealt with firmly before they embark on a life of crime.

"Helen Clark promised to crack down on youth crime, but instead of getting better, it has got worse," Mr Ryall says.


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