Lowest number of youth in court in 20 years

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MIL OSI – Source: National Party – Lowest number of youth in court in 20 years

The number of young people (aged 10 to 16 years old) appearing in court has more than halved since 2007, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams announced today.

The latest Conviction and Sentencing and Child and Youth Prosecution Statistics for 2014 show the number of children and adults facing charges in courts is decreasing.

“More than 400 fewer young people appeared in court than in 2013. This is the lowest point in more than 20 years and more than 50 per cent lower than its peak in 2007,” says Ms Adams.

“While in the adult jurisdiction, the number of people appearing in court has reduced by nine per cent, which translates to over 8,000 fewer individuals over the last year.

“The total number of adult charges laid in court is down 12 per cent or nearly 30,000 charges, and that’s 125,000 less than at its peak in 2009.”

“Studies of people born in 1970 show that those who received a criminal conviction before they were 20 years old were responsible for 80 per cent of convictions of those born in the same year. So it’s very important we support our at-risk young people to move away from a lifetime of crime,” says Ms Adams.

“A vast majority of young people apprehended by Police are dealt with by Youth Aid officers, Family Group Conferences and other methods aimed at preventing them from reoffending.”

The Government has also introduced the Youth Crime Action Plan, a ten-year strategy to reduce crime and offending by young people and help those who offend to turn their lives around.

“Under the plan, twenty communities across New Zealand are developing or have developed their own local solutions for youth offending problems. The plan is about supporting the youth services, frontline staff, service providers and volunteers that are working with youth in the community,” says Ms Adams.

“Every year, the number of youth and adults appearing in our courts goes down and this is testament that New Zealand is becoming a safer place. We’ll continue to monitor these statistics to ensure they continue to trend down.”

Trends in Child and Youth Prosecutions 2014 infographic: www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Trends-in-Child-and-Youth-Prosecutions-2014-infographic.pdf

Trends in Conviction and Sentencing 2014 info graphic (pdf)

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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