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Mark Welcomes Re-Think On Youth Sentencing

3 November 2006

Mark Welcomes Re-Think On Youth Sentencing

News that the Government is considering doubling the length of some sentences for young criminals has been welcomed by New Zealand First Law and Order spokesperson Ron Mark.

Mr Mark is a staunch advocate of tougher sentences for violent youth offenders and is the sponsor of a Members Bill currently before the Law and Order Select Committee which seeks to reduce the age of criminal responsibility for youths who commit serious crimes.

“The increasing incidence of violent youth offending and the lack of remorse many youth offenders tend to display would suggest that a more serious deterrent is necessary to avoid troubled teens entering into a life of crime,” said Mr Mark.

The principle behind Mr Mark's Bill is early intervention and deterrence. It will seek to reduce the age of criminal responsibility for serious offending by youths and amend the range of offences for which young offenders can be charged.

“New Zealand First has long held concerns over the ability of social workers to have any lasting effect on these troubled teens when they have had only three months to assist them. On top of this having them dumped in the same living situation at the conclusion of their sentences has seen much of the good work undone almost instantly. We have raised these concerns on several occasions during discussions with Labour and departmental officials on effective interventions and youth crime issues.

"Young offenders who commit serious crimes need to be made accountable for their actions. Longer and tougher sentencing is a crucial step in reducing violent offending among youths," Mr Mark said.

ENDS

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