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Including 17 year olds in the youth justice system- the facts

In July Cabinet will decide whether or not to raise the age of youth justice to include 17 year olds. This raise has been recommended by the Expert Advisory Panel[i], and Cabinet have already accepted their recommendation to increase the age of care to 18, with some support available to early 20s. Continue reading

Extending the Youth Court Jurisdiction

When New Zealand’s current model of youth justice was introduced by the passage of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 (CYPF), it was innovative, “world renowned” and, a “new paradigm shift”.1 Through time, our resistance to raising the upper age to include 17 year olds within Youth Court jurisdiction has put New Zealand out of step with domestic legislation, international obligations and comparative international jurisdictions. T​o continue to promote a youth justice system based upon fairness, empirical evidence, decarceration, and community and economic wellbeing, New Zealand should extend the Youth Court jurisdiction’s upper age to, at least, include 17 year olds. Children should not be treated as adults by the justice system. To become a world leader once more New Zealand should consider raising the age to 25, when young people’s brains are fully developed. Download the full report here.  Continue reading

Unlocking Prisons Report 2014

Unlocking Prisons is a comprehensive report on how we can improve New Zealand’s prison system. This report looks at why we imprison people; the impact imprisonment has on prisoners, their families and the wider community; and the alternatives and improvements to prisons that will better keep our communities safe and ensure crime is dealt with appropriately. Continue reading

Youth Crime Action Plan Report 2012

Young people in New Zealand have some important things to say, they want to be heard on issues that are important to them. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner (the Office) and JustSpeak believe it is important to seek views of young people on policy areas that directly affect them. Therefore when the review of the Youth Offending Strategy, called the Youth Crime Action Plan (YCAP) was announced, JustSpeak approached the Office to partner on a consultation with young people. We spoke with 97 young people - many of whom had first-hand experience of the youth justice system in New Zealand, as well as those who hadn’t.  Continue reading

Māori and the Criminal Justice System: A Youth Perspective

How the criminal justice system deals with Māori may be the most significant issue that needs to be confronted by any group seeking to address the long-term challenges in crime and punishment in New Zealand. It is an issue that has implications for social cohesion, national identity, cultural identity, economic policy, and human rights, among other matters.  Continue reading