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Intervention not part of Labour's justice plan

Simon Power MP National Party Law & Order Spokesman

16 August 2006

Early intervention not part of Labour's justice plan

National's Law and Order spokesman Simon Power is amazed that Labour's 'interventions' package contains no measures to stop young people entering a life of crime.

"If Labour was really serious about cutting crime this package would propose early interventions to nip it in the bud."

Last month, Mr Power released a Treasury report finding that the Crime Reduction Strategy has 'no particular focus on stopping inter-generational crime or consideration of the role of early interventions in areas such as education, health, income support and housing' (*1).

"I can't see anything in the measures announced yesterday that deals with those issues, nor are there any plans to tackle risk factors such as truancy."

The Ministers' Group on the Youth Offending Strategy has not met since March 2003 (*2), and a recent report admitted that youth justice was still being neglected by CYF three years after the baseline review sought more resources (*3).

In the meantime, violent crimes committed by offenders under 16 have increased by 27% since 1999 and sexual crimes are up 46% (*4).

"Labour have had seven years to deal to youth crime, after putting it on their pledge card in 1999 and 2002.

"I find it pretty galling to hear the Prime Minister saying 'the high-level of repeat offending suggests to me that there has been too little focus within our prison system on the issues which played a part in offenders being sent to jail, and too little emphasis on rehabilitation.'

"This is the same Labour Government that allows only 143 inmates to participate in 100 hour drug and alcohol programmes, and 74 to complete a drug treatment unit, when 83% of inmates have a substance abuse problem.

"And it's the same Government that has cut funding for prisoner work programmes by over a third since 2002, and reduced the number of prisoner work hours per week from 18 to 12.

"If they can't rehabilitate offenders while they've got a captive audience, what hope is there now they're going to hand them a 'get out of jail free' card?" asks Mr Power.


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