The National Party’s ‘boot camp pledge’ to send up to 50 young offenders to a new training facility is something that has been tried – and failed – before according to critics.
The proposed policy would see the serious young offenders sent to Waiouru military camp for training which, if they failed, would result in the remainder of their sentence in prison.
The offences would include vserious assault, sexual assaults, aggravated robbery and murder.
Justice Minister Amy Adams also wants to fine parents $200 if they let their kids under the age of 14 roam the streets unsupervised, thus imposing greater responsibility on parents.
A spokesman for the youth justice group JustSpeak director Katie Bruce said it was a “terrible idea” and was “not a route we want to go down”.
“It’s been floated here for a few years, it’s been tried and tested, both here and overseas… The evaluation found the young people commited more serious crimes on their release than those who had attended other institutions, or undertaken other programmes,” she told Radio New Zealand.
The Maori Party don’t like the idea either.
“Their plans are archaic and evidence shows that boot camps and prison don’t work. What these children need is a whānau ora approach, kaupapa Māori and more support across social services and education,” said Maori Party Tamaki Makaurau candidate Shane Taurima.
The government maintains that previous such bootcamp initiatives had worked, including two set up by the current government which launched a nine week camp for young recidivist offenders in 2010.
Imposing greater responsibility on parents is something that has long been talked about, but lead to little effective action.
However, the government’s chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman warned about the training in a 2011 report, saying there was no evidence it was working.