Youth boot camps old and flawed says Goff, July 19, 2005

Justice Minister Phil Goff yesterday slammed a call by United Future to introduce Army-run youth boot camps as recycled, tried and a spectacular failure.

United Future wants to boost police numbers by a third, overhaul parole and send teenage criminals to "brat camps" under its law and order policy launched on Sunday.

It proposes boot camps - to be run by the Army in co-operation with the Education and Health ministries - to teach self-discipline and provide education, training and counselling to avert at-risk teens from a life of crime.

Mr Goff said the idea was nothing new and was tried for 21 years in the form of Corrective Training, which had a 94.5 per cent re-offending rate and was scrapped in 2002.

"Experience has proven it to be ineffective and a waste of money.

"Those advocating a return to such policies must either be unaware of the facts or ignoring them for reasons of political expediency."

New Zealand already had a tough sentencing regime and the second highest imprisonment rate in the western world, he said.

AdvertisementAdvertisement"We now need policies that effectively address the causes of crime. This includes early intervention and tackling juvenile crime."

However, United Future's Law and order spokesman Marc Alexander said yesterday Corrective Training was a defunct programme based on the notion of a borstal system.

"It was a gutless version that didn't do the job," he told NZPA.

The brat camps would be tougher and more collaborative than Corrective Training.

"One thing we need to do for our young - apart from the discipline aspect - is education, education, education.

"We have to give our kids a viable option other than crime and the only way we are going to do that is to instill in them a sense of purpose and a sense of possibility that education can give them."

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