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Youth Justice Overdue For Debate - Mark

6 April 2006

Youth Justice Overdue For Debate - Mark

New Zealand First MP Ron Mark said that many people who have reacted against his Member’s Bill, Young Offenders (Serious Crimes), have done so based on the false premise that it proposes ‘throwing 12-year-olds into jail’.

“That is a totally wrong assumption. This Bill does not alter the system by which young offenders are treated and the Youth Court and the Youth Justice System will remain the appropriate means for dealing with them.

“What the Bill is really about is to deter young, serious or repeat offenders from a life of crime and to stop them short before it gets to the point where a term in an adult jail is inevitable. It is about making an earlier intervention so that they can be turned around onto a better path.

“Our youth justice system at present is not working, and violent crime by younger people is on the increase.

“With a recent opinion poll in favour of the principles behind the bill, which had such an emphatic majority in the House at its first reading, this issue is obviously due for debate.

“Consideration of the bill at the Law and Order select committee enables the system to be scrutinized and allows everyone to have their say on how we can stop young people starting early on a lifetime of crime,” concluded Mr Mark.

ENDS

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