Thursday, September 25, 2014

Arguing with Celia Lashlie

 Urban Institute   (a non-partisan, definitely not right-wing US think-tank)

Nearly 14 percent of the sons of adolescent mothers have been in prison by their late 30s.

Males born to unmarried mothers under 18 years old had an 11-fold increased risk of chronic offending compared with males born to married mothers ≥20 years old.

 Corrections NZ  Over-representation of Maori in the criminal justice system,
 A great many studies indicate that births to mothers under the age of 18 are associated with poorer long-term outcomes for those infants. While this factor in and of itself is not necessarily “criminogenic”, it appears to be so strongly when associated with other social disadvantage factors.

Celia Lashlie was on Radio Live today.

I wanted her opinion on what was causing the substantial drop in teen births given that, "...prisons are full of people who had very, very young mothers."

Now I stated this injudiciously because it's not a claim I can back with proof.

She quickly responded, "No. Not true. Not in my experience."

I modified my statement to say they may include subsequent births to mothers who had started their families very young and without support. But Lashlie was still certain that they were not a major segment of the prison population. She said "...there are plenty of good boys from good families that just do dumb things."

I sent the following to Willie Jackson.

Celia says that I am wrong about inmates and very young mothers.

However, international research shows that is the case. And even in NZ, Corrections published a paper about over-representation of Maori in the prison system with a  section titled, "Very young mothers."

I wasn't trying to score points. I simply wanted to know whether Celia - or you Willie for that matter - has an idea about what is causing the remarkable drop in 16 and 17 year-olds (including Maori) having babies because it would be a shame to stop doing whatever is causing it.
Here's the problem.

Nobody knows because nobody does the research. Celia and I could argue back and forth and not establish the truth. I bow to her far greater knowledge of prison inmates but would very much like to see some research to establish the facts.

In the meantime I remain very encouraged by the drop in 16 and 17 year-olds births anticipating a corresponding drop in criminality and prison population.

(The exchange is here at 1.45pm slot around 8 mins in.)


Anonymous said...

what is causing the remarkable drop in 16 and 17 year-olds (including Maori) having babies

Lindsay. We've been over this and know the cause: a National govt.

When Labour is in, birth rates go up.
When National is in, birth rates go down.

Anonymous said...

I listened to a bit of the interview (but had some power tools going at times) and heard CL talking at length about a certain offender just released after serving time for allowing her child to be killed.

I reckon it was about 20 minutes before the name of the child was mentioned. I am happy to see the offender rehabilitated but the fact of the death should never be lost sight of - it cannot be undone or compensated for.

The other thing I noted was the claim of sexual abuse by family against young women and children. That clearly needs to be rooted out and stomped on.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Whoever put the sexual abuse question to prisoners could have also easily asked about age of mother at birth/oldest sibling.

Anonymous said...

Along a slightly different matter, can anyone suggest were to take my daughter to stay safe while we wait to get her treated she is a sex abuse Vitim, I need her out I'd Auckland. Please

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon, because this is an old post I am probably the only one who will see your comment. My only suggestion is you talk to CYF but you are probably already in touch with them. Obviously a lot depends on your daughter's age, and your ability to move. What is stopping you moving out of Auckland and taking her with you? If it's money then you'd need to discuss the situation with WINZ. There may be an emergency grant available.