Youth Crime Policy - New Conservative NZ

Youth Crime Policy

Our young people are our most valuable resource and we need to do all we can to prepare them for a life of healthy relationships and productivity. The causes of increasing youth crime need to be identified and addressed so that our young people, and our nation, have a future and a hope.

Consequences

A preoccupation with ‘rights’ with very little reference to ‘responsibilities’ has led some youth to believe they can do what they want with little or no consequences. If they are simply sent home after committing a burglary, or get bounced between Family Group Conferences, the police, and the courts there is no disincentive and the pattern of crime continues. The consequences of the crime must outweigh the potential benefits.

New Conservative believes we need to come down hard on first time youth offenders, as a deterrent to committing future crimes. We propose an overhaul of the current youth court system to address issues such as timeframes for sentencing, increasing timeframes for youth court plans, and increasing the maximum community services sentences. We will lower the age of offending for all charges through the youth courts to 12 years old. Youth sentenced in the courts will have an educational achievement linked to the sentence as an incentive for personal improvement. This may include trade training, relationship training, or core subjects.

We believe that reparation must fit the crime. If the youth or their family cannot pay full reparation costs, community service must be based on the reparation required. For example, theft of a $1,000 item would require 80 hours community service: youth rates are $12.60/hr = 80 hours for $1,000.

Counselling

Families with youth who have offended will be required to have free counselling to address any present issues such as generational cycles of addiction, abuse, offending, and the breakdown of the family unit. Repeat offenders would be required to attend one year at an age appropriate Boot Farm facility.

New Conservative will overhaul the Adolescent Mental Health Services to ensure youth who commit crimes get proper help for issues such as addiction and depression.