Government Looks at Ways of Improving Youth Sentence

  • Paul East

Minister of Corrections, Paul East, said today that the Government was determined to find an appropriate sentence that addressed the reasons for youth offending and prevented young people from becoming career criminals.

Mr East said that a review of corrective training - a three month "short, sharp shock" sentence for serious juvenile offenders - had confirmed his view that the sentence was doing little to reduce youth re-offending.

"The Government is committed to dealing with youth crime and in light of the review's findings, I have asked the Department of Corrections to look at ways of improving or replacing the corrective training sentence," said Mr East.

Mr East said that the sentence needed to provide a balance between discipline and rehabilitation.

"Many of these young people lack discipline and self esteem and have very real problems, which are leading them into a life of crime. I am still convinced that a sentence which specifically targets young offenders, is necessary if we as a country wish to prevent the next generation of criminals.

Mr East said that on a recent visit to Tongariro Prison he spoke to people involved in managing the sentence.

"It's clear from what Prison Officers are telling me that we need to provide these young people with programmes which target the reasons for their recidivism. At the same time we must maintain a disciplined environment within which these offenders can contemplate their wrong doing and concentrate on self-improvement," said Mr East.

He said that the Department of Corrections would examine options for improving or replacing the corrective training sentence and would report back to him with recommendations later this year.