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Lazy Tolley misrepresents facts - again

26 October 2006

Lazy Tolley misrepresents facts - again

The Labour-led government has increased the number of places in Youth Justice residences over the past year and considered other options to prevent young people spending time in police cells, says Child Youth and Family Services Minister Ruth Dyson.

"In the past 12 months an additional 12 beds have opened in Canterbury, an additional 3 in South Auckland, an additional 3 in Dunedin, and there will be a further 8 in Canterbury this year. It is clear that Anne Tolley was not listening as I told Parliament these facts yesterday. How can she be a
competent spokesperson when she's either ignorant or deliberately misleading the public about what's happening?

"A new Youth Justice residence has been commissioned in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty area to further increase bed numbers but a proper process of consultation has to be gone through first, in order to provide a facility that is supported by the local community as well.

"It would be really good if Anne Tolley and the National Party supported the building of youth justice facilities instead of constantly trying to undermine the progress made by CYF," said Ruth Dyson.

Background

Young people are held in police cells when there are no suitable facilities available for them. Most frequently this happens when a young person appears in Youth Court and is remanded in the custody of the Chief Executive of CYF but there is no bed available in a residence.

Social Workers present community alternatives to the Judge if these are available, but not when the young person has committed very serious and prolific offending. When the Judge is informed that there are no alternative placements for a young person, he or she will place the young person on remand in Police custody, where the young person is kept separate from older prisoners and visited by a social worker every day.

Longer-term options being considered include developing assessment tools for the Youth Court, encouraging quicker turn around of specialists' reports, and the use of home detention in appropriate situations.

ENDS

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