Minister for Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni, says the Government’s Better Pathways packages is having a positive impact on youth crime, with reoffending and ram raid rates dropping significantly in the six months since its announcement.
The Minister said that of the 147 children engaged in the Kotahi te Whakaaro programme, only 27 have reoffended.
“The programme has also supported 373 siblings and wider family members, ensuring we are turning the lives around of some of our most vulnerable young people,” said Ms Sepuloni.
“Alongside these actions we have seen a drop in the number of reported ram raid incidents. In August 2022, there were 116 reported ram raids. Six months after the expansion of Kotahi te Whakaaro, there were 40.
“We know that victims of ram raids and the general public want to see that number fall even further, and we are committed helping offenders turn their lives around as well as support victims and shop owners to ensure they receive the help they need to recover from these crimes,” Ms Sepuloni said.
Alongside Kotahi te Whakaaro’s expansion the Government announced the introduction of a ‘Circuit Breaker’ to make sure younger recidivist offenders had a fast tracked intervention to prevent further crime.
Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis says the initiative is working.
“The programme has dealt with 84 children and of those 67 have not reoffended. This is through an approach that ensured almost all children had an initial plan to stop offending agreed within 24 hours,” he said.
“We have found the vast majority of offenders have a family history of violence and harm, and wrapping support around the entire whānau is the only way to break the cycle of crime.
“Locking up children under the age of 15 does not work in the overwhelming number of cases, it just creates more hardened criminals who will reoffend once they are released from custody. We need intensive interventions that address the causes of offending and what we are doing is working,”