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NZ First Pledges Action On Young Thugs

20 March 2005

NZ First Pledges Action On Young Thugs

New Zealand First will make young people more accountable to the community for their crimes by lowering the age of criminal responsibility and widening the range of offences for which youths are automatically subject to adult processes.

Announcing the policy today, law and order spokesperson Ron Mark said lowering the age of criminal accountability and requiring that offenders 12 years and over be dealt with by the District and High Courts instead of Youth Courts will target the worrying trend of youth crime.

“A 12 or 13 year-old violent criminal is a violent criminal, and must be treated as such. A child who carries out aggravated robbery has lost the innocence of childhood. Young offenders must be held accountable for their actions before they enter a life of crime,” said Mr Mark.

The New Zealand First youth justice policy will include:

Requiring offenders 12 years and over to be dealt with by the District and High Courts not Youth Courts

Providing the Youth Court with guidelines as to when anonymity of proceedings should be removed to reinforce the offender’s accountability to the community

Make special military-type training sentences involving supervised control and intensive rehabilitation an option to recidivist offenders

Widening the range of offences for which youths are automatically subject to adult processes (e.g. crimes of violence, attempted murder, sexual assault and serious repeat offending such as burglaries and car conversion).

“Early intervention is crucial if we are to prevent young offenders graduating to a life of crime,” Mr Mark said.

ENDS

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