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Young people appearing in court at 20 year low

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice

24 September 2013

Young people appearing in court at 20 year low

The number of people facing charges in court has fallen to the lowest level in a decade, Justice Minister Judith Collins announced today.

The latest Conviction and Sentencing Statistics show 95,429 people were prosecuted in court in 2012/13 - 7 per cent less than in 2011/12, and 24 per cent lower than the peak four years ago. In 2011/12 there were 102,530 people prosecuted and in 2009/10 there were 125,017 prosecutions.

“These figures confirm this Government’s commitment to making New Zealand’s communities safer is paying real dividends,” Ms Collins says.

The Child and Youth Prosecution Statistics, also published today, show the number of children and young people being charged in court is the lowest in 20 years, down 45 per cent since the peak in 2007/08 to 2,739.

“The Justice sector has been working hard to target youth offending and keep young people from appearing before our courts, and it’s paying off,” Ms Collins says.

“We’ve announced our new youth crime target – to reduce youth offending by 25 per cent by 2017 – as the earlier, interim five per cent target has been exceeded. From June 2011 to June 2013 youth crime dropped 19 per cent.

“We know that a key to reducing crime long-term is to stop young people entering the court and justice system in the first place. It’s good to see this progress reflected in these latest results.”

The proportion of charges resulting in conviction has remained relatively stable at 73 per cent and one in 10 of those convicted are sent to prison. For every 10,000 people in New Zealand, 22 were sentenced to prison in 2012/13 compared with 25 in 2011/12.

The statistics also show:

• The number of people charged with a violent offence has dropped 19 per cent over the last five years, after steadily increasing between 2004 and 2009.
• The number of people convicted of crimes declined across all age groups, with the 17-19 age groups seeing the biggest decrease over the 12 month period, with a decline of 18 per cent.
• The number of convictions of males aged 17-19 convicted was the lowest since 1980/81.
• The number of convicted offenders decreased for all ethnicities in the year to June 2013.
• All court clusters saw decreases in the number of convictions over the year to June 2013, with the exception of Manukau (Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe district courts), which saw a two per cent increase.
• The Otago/South Canterbury cluster (Dunedin, Oamaru, Timaru, and Balclutha district courts) saw the biggest decrease with convictions down 14 per cent to their lowest level since records began in 1980/81.

Ms Collins acknowledges the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections, Justice sector ministers and support agencies for their continued and unrelenting focus on reducing crime and making New Zealand safer.

The full statistics are available at www.stats.govt.nz and www.justice.govt.nz

ENDS

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