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Supported bail to help change young offenders

Hon Chester Borrows
Associate Minister for Social Development

31 July 2014

Supported bail to help change young offenders

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows has welcomed the expansion of supported bail for young offenders as an important step to reducing reoffending.

The latest supported bail expansion increases the total places to 305 placements, available almost anywhere in New Zealand, up from 175 in 2006.

“Supported bail is an important tool for managing lower level young offenders in a way that is better for them and better for the community,” says Mr Borrows.

“By actively monitoring and working with young offenders on bail, we can help ensure they comply with their bail conditions, do not reoffend, and begin to make the positive changes they need to get back on the right track.”

Supported bail provides a community-based alternative to holding the young person in custody before their court hearing or Family Group Conference. It is targeted at offenders whose behaviour is too serious to be bailed without supervision, but not so serious as to pose a risk to the safety of the community that requires them to be in custody.

Mr Borrows also noted changes to increase the support available to young offenders, and to improve the flexibility and effectiveness of supported bail programmes.

“By changing supported bail programmes to be there when the young person needs them, rather than 9 till 5, Monday to Friday, we will see even better results with these troubled young people,” says Mr Borrows.

“The Government is determined to reduce serious youth offending by 25 per cent, and these changes – just one part of many under our Youth Crime Action Plan – will help deliver on that goal.

More information on the Youth Crime Action Plan can be found at www.justice.govt.nz.

About the programme
Supported Bail is an intensive programme which places a mentor alongside the young person and their family, (while awaiting their Family Group Conference and Youth Court hearing) providing support and services such education, pre-employment and activity-based programmes.

The programme supports young people to comply with bail conditions (eg curfew, reside at home and not reoffend) helping the family to better monitor and supervise the young person, and minimising potential risks to the community.

It’s also an opportunity to address issues that led to the offending and find ways of supporting change in the young person’s decision making.

The programme usually runs for up to six weeks (28-32 hours per week) but can be extended as necessary.

Public safety remains an important consideration, so custody options are reserved for those whose risk cannot be safely managed by community-based alternatives.

ENDS

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