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Victims' Trust Slams Move to Increase Youth Offender Age

Victims' Trust Slams Move to Increase Youth Offender Age

7th June 2016

“Increasing the age of youth offenders from 16 to 17 would be a move in the wrong direction and put the public at greater risk than it already is now.” Guthrie

The Government is looking to change the law to keep 17-year-old crims out of adult courts.

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked officials to look at whether dealing with 17-year-olds in the Youth Court will cut rates of re-offending and stop some young people starting out on a life of crime.

“They are going to see that as a softer option and they are going to go yah until I’m 18 I can keep committing these offences because I’m not getting any punishment for what I’m doing.” Jess McVicar Sensible Sentencing Youth advocate.

Adams wants to know if raising the threshold will help meet a Government target of reducing youth crime by 25 per cent by 2017.

“By moving the goal post the only thing it will achieve is to make the national crime figures look good which it appears is all this Government is interested in.” Guthrie

“Our current youth justice system is just a breeding ground for our adult prison population with more than two-thirds of youth reoffending within a year and half of the current adult population having previously been convicted in a youth court.”

Sensible Sentencing says that all offenders 16 and over should be dealt within the adult court as adults. “Tough love has never hurt anyone. Why shouldn’t these offenders be able to do community based sentences and be responsible for their actions?”

Jess said, “The National Party got elected by promising to get tough on law and order but sadly it appears they have lost their mojo. Our communities have had a-guts full of ‘alternative pathways’ for criminal youth – pathways which demonstrably do not work.
“Criminal youth at 17 need to be held accountable and the only way that will happen is if they move through the adult court system. The touchy feely youth justice system is presently just feeding ground for further criminal activity.”

“New Zealand’s whole system is arse about face. How can we not hold a 17 year old offender to account for their actions in an adult court but that same offender is old enough to be a parent, a prostitute, drive a car and legally own a firearm? Our politicians need to wake up and smell the roses”. Guthrie



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