New Zealand's Youth Justice System
New Zealand's youth justice system is a world leader in best practice.
The evidence tells us that whenever possible, young people need to be kept out of the formal justice system.
Processing young people formally and treating them like ‘small adults’ not only ignores the science but also increases the chance they will offend again. The more these behaviours are dealt with at a community level, with input from young people, their family and victims, the less likely they are to be repeated.
Punitive responses might be popular with the public, but they are unlikely to be successful. As Sir Peter Gluckman argues:
"In general, most of the risky and impulsive behaviours of adolescence reflect incomplete maturation of self-control and judgement. Accordingly, punitive approaches are less likely to be effective than well-established and validated approaches that attempt to remedy these deficits."
It has also been shown that ensuring children and young people make amends for wrongdoing is an essential part of any response to their offending. New Zealand’s youth justice system is designed around these principles.
Improving the Transition
Office of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee (2011)
Formal System Processing of Juveniles: Effects on Delinquency
A. Petrosino, C. Turpin-Petrosino, S. Guckenburg (2010)
How How To Turn A Child Offender Into An Adult Criminal – In 10 Easy Steps
Judge A. Becroft (2009)
Want to Know More?
How New Zealand's Justice System Works