A report addressing youth crime in New Zealand has been called a “blueprint for change” by Principal Youth Court Judge John Walker.
The report, It is never too early, never too late: A discussion paper on preventing youth offending in New Zealand, was written by Science Advisor to the Justice Sector, Associate Professor Ian Lambie, and encourages youth justice related agencies to adopt a “developmental crime prevention” model.
“If we really want to be serious about getting to the root causes of youth crime, it shows we need to tackle those issues when they’re children, not when they turn up in the youth justice system at 14,” says Judge Walker.
“Too often in the Youth Court we’re playing “catch up”, dealing with long standing issues that could have been addressed many years before,” he says.
Professor Lambie’s report also shows that there should be a focus on rehabilitation, reintegration and restorative justice, highlighting that though New Zealand’s number of offenders within the in the youth-justice system is decreasing, more still needs to be done to understand youth offending.
This report is the second in a series of discussion papers exploring factors leading to New Zealand’s high incarceration rate and other challenges faced by prisons in New Zealand.