Young offenders to be sent to year-long military boot camp govt announces

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NZN

National wants to pack around 50 young criminals a year off to a boot camp at Waiouru where the army can drum some discipline into them.

The new policy includes boot camps and curfews for youth and instant fines for some parents.
Source: 1 NEWS

The "Junior Training Academy" will be part of $30 million spent over four years on a new class of criminal the party wants to call "Young Serious Offender".

"There remains a small group of around 150 young people who continue to commit large numbers of serious offences," justice spokeswoman Amy Adams, who is also justice minister, said.

The Prime Minister today announced the National Party’s new strategies to try and tackle youth crime.
Source: 1 NEWS

"These are young people who have been in and out of Youth Court but have shown no willingness or ability to change their behaviour."

Judges would be able to send the worst young offenders to Waiouru for one year to deal with problems like addiction or a lack of literacy and numeracy skills.

Those who failed to complete their time at Waiouru Military Camp would serve the balance in jail.

The YSO classification would come with tightened bail requirements, increased electronic monitoring and removing any early release from custodial sentences.

It was estimated that 50 youths would be sent to Waiouru each year and the scheme would need about $30m over four years.

Other law changes would "hold their parents to account", Ms Adams said.

Police would be allowed to issue instant infringement notices to parents of children under 14 walking the streets without supervision between 12am and 5am.

Breaches of court orders directed at a young person's parent would be recorded on that parent's criminal record, closing a current loophole, Ms Adams said.

National would also set up a contestable $30m fund for community groups to support programmes to reduce offending.

"We know local solutions are often the best, and we want to give smaller or rural communities the opportunity to take further action," Ms Adams said.

The Government has funded boot camps for young people since the 1980s, including some operated by private providers.

In an interview with TVNZ’s SUNDAY programme on 25 July, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley acknowledged that state-funded boot camps often haven't worked.

Scott Carr was sent to the camp on Great Barrier Island where he claims he was head butted, choked and fell unconscious.
Source: Sunday

"There are some cases where the idea that you take young people and you give them a short, sharp jolt about what life is really like hasn’t actually been particularly effective,” she said.

"And if you haven’t got sufficient oversight, then children can actually suffer physical harm, or certainly emotional harm, as a result.”

Hundreds of young people were sent to the Whakapakari boot camp on Great Barrier Island, which operated until 2004. For 16 years prior to that, allegations of abuse and violence were ignored by welfare bosses in Wellington.

In a 2011 report, the Government's chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman concluded that evidence for "boot camps and military style training" programmes was "limited or lacking".  

The Government has now acknowledged that there was abuse at Whakapakari. It faces claims from 80 former residents of the camp, some of whom have received financial settlements.

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