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Youth Court Threat to Public Safety

Media Release

6 March 2008


The Youth Court is rapidly becoming a threat to public safety with its soft approach to dangerous young criminals on bail, claims New Zealand First law and order spokesman, Ron Mark.

Mr Mark is deeply concerned that the Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft is considering the use of electronic ankle bracelets on young criminals so they can be sent home on bail because of a shortage of supervised bail schemes.

"We have no objection to youths facing petty or non-violent crimes being remanded on bail in their homes but we strongly oppose young thugs facing serious offences being remanded to their homes with ankle bracelets.

"Judge Becroft is well intentioned, but he fails to grasp the capacity of young people to circumvent technology.

"Ankle bracelets will not keep these people in their homes. Reporting of breaches of electronic monitoring is not in ‘real time’ and offenders can be out on the streets committing further offences well before their absence is noticed and the alarm raised.

“The long-term answer is to provide some more secure facilities to keep violent young offenders out of the community, but in the meantime releasing them back to dysfunctional homes to pick up where they left off is not the solution.

"The whole ethos of the youth justice system is to keep young people out of court and prison, but New Zealanders are sick of young offenders being released on bail to commit more crimes.

“The Youth Court would be well advised to consider public safety before it uses ankle bracelets,” warned Mr Mark.


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