New Zealand First spokesperson on justice Darroch Ball MP says that New Zealand’s youth justice system is failing when serious offending is increasing and when two-thirds of young offenders end up in adult court.
His comments are in light of a Ministry of Justice report which stated that the youth justice system “generally continued to perform well” and that there was apparently a “reduction in offending”.
However, Ball argues that this cannot be true when 70 per cent of all 16-year old offenders end up in an adult court within two years. This means that more than two-thirds of all 16-year old youth offenders who are processed through our “world class” youth court end up offending as adults.
It is also particularly curious for the NZ First MP that the adult court reoffending rate is just at 42 per cent, which is much lower than the 70 per cent from the youth court system.
“How can our adult district court have a much lower reoffending rate than our world class and so-called performing youth court?,” Ball asks.
The NZ First MP argues that the reporting on youth crime “has been changed, chopped, manipulated and twisted to such a degree that no real comparisons can be made over the past 10 or more years”.
“We need to stop buying into this rhetoric of our youth system being the best in the world and we need to stop cherry-picking statistics that only serve to suit that narrative,” says Ball.
“The truth is that nothing has changed in the youth justice system. It is demonstrably not stopping the offenders from going on and reoffending – which surely is the main aim for any court system”, he adds.