October 30, 2023
Early intervention better than prison as ram raid fix
The Chief Children’s Commissioner says the Ram Raids Bill could create a pipeline for children as young as 12 into the justice system and prison.
Submissions on the Bill, which makes ram raids a specific crime and makes livestreaming the action an aggravating factor at sentencing, closed last week.
Judge Francis Eivers says most young people come into the criminal justice system from backgrounds of poverty rather than the leafy suburbs, and their whanau don’t have the resources to put into the needs of their children.
She says the Social Wellbeing Agency is coordinating government and non-government agencies and iwi in south Auckland to identify the most at risk whanau and put in place intensive early intervention.
“They meet every morning and discuss who’s needing help. They collaborate as a group to assist these whanau and reoffending rates have significantly reduced – it’s over 60 percent. There are some still that are more difficult to reach and assist but they are not giving up, they’re going to keep trying and we’re just going to have to find different ways of doing that,” Commissioner Eivers says.