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2003 Youth Justice “Joint Training” “One bus, but not arrived yet” Whangarei and the “Winterless North” 13 May, 2003 (Also presented in Methven, Blenheim,

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Presentation on theme: "2003 Youth Justice “Joint Training” “One bus, but not arrived yet” Whangarei and the “Winterless North” 13 May, 2003 (Also presented in Methven, Blenheim,"— Presentation transcript:

1 2003 Youth Justice “Joint Training” “One bus, but not arrived yet” Whangarei and the “Winterless North” 13 May, 2003 (Also presented in Methven, Blenheim, Palmerston North, Rotorua, & Hamilton) Andrew Becroft Principal Youth Court Judge

2 We are all part of a team

3 What I said last year…..a reminder 1. Better practice first, not better programmes 2. CYFS-Police co-operation must improve 3. The need for excellence 4. Serious Young Offenders 5. We must do better with Maori offenders

4 The message for 2003: Outline 1. The good is still good, but concerns remain: (PS. What do the statistics tell us?) 2. A history lesson 3. Child offenders 4. Serious young offenders 5. Some hot topics and concerns

5 1. The good is still good, but there are major concerns 1. Generally, Youth Aid input is outstanding and “alternative action” leads the world 2. FGC timeframes & victim attendance has markedly improved 3. Nevertheless: Some hard questions & messages cannot be avoided 4. But in the context of significant regional differences; generalisations are difficult

6 1. The good is still good, but there a major concerns 1. Generally, Youth Aid input is outstanding and “alternative action” leads the world 76% “alternative action/warning” 8% pre-charge FGC therefore, up to 84% offending does not come to YC But…... Arrests used in 5% cases (1990); 12% (2001); but no massive increase in serious offences. Harder line by front-line police? Regional variations

7 1. The good is still good, but there are major concerns 1. Generally, Youth Aid input is outstanding and “alternative action” leads the world Use of “pre-charge FGC” decreased, but use of Police diversion and YC charging has increased (Pre-charge FGC & charging in YC, consistently about 16%) 1991: 8% Youth Court; 9% pre-charge FGC 2001: 13% “ “ 3% “ “

8 1. The good is still good, but there are major concerns 2. FGC timeframes & victim attendance has markedly improved 3. Nevertheless: Some hard questions & messages cannot be avoided “Generic” social work model: good theory, but in practice, in a demand driven environment, is YJ well served? High CYFS staff turnover General erosion of YJ expertise

9 1. The good is still good, but there are major concerns 4. But in the context of significant regional differences; generalisations are difficult

10 (PS. What do the statistics tell us?) Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics Each generation unfavourably compares today’s young people with previous “golden ages” Poor centralised statistics Much debated, frequently distorted Selective statistics mislead Debate is welcomed; must be informed debate

11 Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics Youth offending remained a stable 22% of total offending for last 12 years Last five years, only relatively small increases in offending by under 17 year olds A small percentage is serious: –60% property of $100 or less –20% shoplifting –24% committed between 9am and 4pm –9% is violent offending

12 Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics 76% youth offending resolved by police “alternative action” (diversion) 8% by pre-charge FGC Less than 20% comes to Youth Court Numbers in the Youth Court dropped in last 2 years (6,900 last year, some repeats) FGC’s remained stable (6,000 pa); but proportions have changed. Why?? But: enormous regional variations & cannot generalise

13 Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics Violent offending increasing? - Significant increases ; only slightly since Apprehensions for year olds for violent offences dropped since 1997 Q.1: Is the age at which under 17 year olds start to commit violent offences decreasing? Q.2: Has the type of violence changed?

14 2. A History Lesson Addressing “youth offending” comparably recent. Pre “junior” adults, in the adult court “Welfare Model” welfarism not working? “Justice Model” 1989 CYPFA a “hybrid” Justice model

15 2. A History Lesson (cont) A real misunderstanding exists as to dealing with young offenders The “3 burglaries” example Dealing with “needs”, addressing the “causes of offending” is not “welfarism”

16 2. A History Lesson (cont) s208(b) is misunderstood s4(f)(i) offenders held accountable and encouraged to accept responsibility BUT s4(f)(ii) dealt with in way that acknowledges needs and opportunity to develop…..

17 2. A History Lesson (cont) The message: either a philosophical view, or a lack of resources and time (an excuse for slackness?) but the causes of serious young offenders not being adequately addressed “deed” and “need” have to be addressed if not we fail a generation of young offenders our NZ model will not stand scrutiny

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19 3. Child Offenders Astonishingly few 14(1)(e) applications filed Why? Not that many child offenders after all? Can be dealt with without orders “wait until they are 14”? Ignorance of procedure Loss of confidence in CYFS

20 4. Serious Young Offenders 80% of offenders commit 20% of offences these are “desisters” or “adolescent limited” Good interventions work. 20% of offenders commit 80% of offences (actually 5-15% of young offenders commit 60-75% of offences) These are “persisters”, “life course” “early onset” offenders

21 Serious Young Offenders 6 Characteristics: 1. 85% male 2. No male role model/ family dysfunction 3. Up to 80% not “engaged” with school 4. Up to 75-80% drug and/or alcohol abuse 5. Psychological, psychiatric issues 6. At least 50% are Maori

22 Auckland Youth Forensic Service Statistics: % Male Maori & Pacific Island over-represented 70% use cannabis; 60% use alcohol 50% lived in 3 different placements 30-40% Care and Protection history 20% involved in gangs 70% unemployed or not attending school (40% Reached 3rd form, 32% reached 4th form) History of offending: offences

23 Characteristics of Young Offenders: England & Wales An analysis of 4000 young offenders  83% male  70% from single parent families  41% regularly truanting  60% have special educational needs  Over 50% use cannibas  75% smoke and drink  75% considered impulsive  25% at risk of harm as a result of their own behaviour (9% at risk of suicide)

24 The Challenge! “How to influence violent, defiant, impulsive, truanting, teenage boys (disproportionately Maori) in the grip of alcohol and/or drug addictions, who have borderline personality disorders from dysfunctional families with anti social peers?”

25 From Snr Const Mark Graham (Police Youth Aid, Rangiora)………... “Let’s accentuate the positive this year… We will get into the arena & maybe in the process get covered in dust and sweat...But is not that a better place to be, than sitting safely like those souless prats who know neither victory or defeat” Theodore Roosevelt

26 The Expectation 1. A risk assessment: risk of becoming a serious young offender 2. A needs assessment: what should be addressed to lower/eliminate the risk 3. Education assessment 4. A Comprehensive FGC Plan Youth Court Judges may order a reconvened FGC if this has not been done!!!

27 5. Some Hot Topics/Issues 1. s 214: Police powers of arrest Automatic arrest for breach of bail? Exercise of a discretion? 2. s238(1)(c): a provision in disrepute? “See you later order?” 3. s238(1)(d): Crisis - lack of beds 4. s242(1): only a 24 hour saviour

28 5. Some Hot Topics/Issues 5. s275-6: “purely indictable” procedure 6. s282(1)&(3): often misundertood 7. Databank compulsion orders

29 5. Some Hot Topics/Issues 8. s283 orders: some homework required 9. s290 & the Sentencing Act Supervision orders: where are the “additional conditions” 11. Effectiveness reports 12. Supervision with residence. Where is the quality follow up?

30 Conclusion ?


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