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Time to Throw Book at Young Offenders

Darroch Ball MP

Spokesperson for Youth Affairs
12 JULY 2017

Time to Throw Book at Young Offenders

Offenders are getting younger and committing more serious crimes because the justice system lets them get away with it, says New Zealand First.

“A 14 year old was arrested for the vicious assault on a pizza delivery man last Sunday – yet another young thug adding to the increased number of serious crimes being committed by teens,” says New Zealand First Youth Spokesperson, Darroch Ball.

“Police statistics show a dramatic increase nationwide in serious crimes committed by teens – a 12 per cent increase in just one year – with violent robberies like this one jumping a massive 40 per cent.

“Yet there was a corresponding decrease in convictions in court for that same age group, over the same time period.

“It is any wonder young offenders think they can get away with it when the figures show only a few of these cases get transferred from Youth Court to the District Courts.

“Of the 260 prosecutions for high-level serious crimes committed by youth, including assaults, aggravated robberies and burglaries last year, just 15 were heard in the District Court and of those only a handful were given prison sentences.

“These youth are not being held to account and there is no justice for the victims of their crimes.

“Why is it not ‘do the adult crime - do the adult time’?

“Many of these serious offenders are repeatedly getting away with their crimes because they are recycled through the police diversion scheme, which acts like a permanent ‘get out of jail free card’.

“These youth must face serious consequences for their actions instead of the current ‘catch and release cotton-wool’ approach that the National government encourages,” says Mr Ball.


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