New Conservative believes that 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.
A preoccupation with 'rights' with very little reference to 'responsibilities' has left society in a situation where some young people have realised that they can do whatever they like with little or no consequences. When one simply gets dropped off home after committing a burglary, or is bounced between FGC’s (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. To this end, we propose an overhaul of the current youth court system in order to address issues such as time frames for sentencing, increasing time frames for youth court plans and increasing the maximum community services sentences. We would 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 to personal improvement. This may include trade training, relationship training or core subjects.
New Conservative believes that reparation must fit the crime. If the youth and/or their family are unable to financially pay full reparation costs, community service must be based on the reparation required. For example, theft of $1000 item would require 80 hours community service: youth rates are $12.60/hr = 80 hours for $1000.
Families with youth who have offended will be required to undergo free counselling, with a view to addressing and dealing with 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. Further information about Boot Farms can be found here.
New Conservative will overhaul the Adolescent Mental Health Services to ensure adequate help and assistance is being given to youth who commit crimes in order to address and deal with issues such as addiction and depression.