Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Court statistics - good news story?

Coincidentally, on the same day that the country was reacting en masse to the discharge without conviction of a young rugby player who brutally assaulted a group of people on the street in Wellington, the latest youth court statistics were released. They show a continuing fall in the numbers of young people being charged.

Adult statistics graphed look similar:

The cynic in me questions sudden reverses in trends always looking for some fish hook. Especially when the prison population is growing. According to Corrections:

The Department of Corrections has embarked on a major recruitment drive and aims to employ around 600 new Corrections Officers by September 2017, with at least 500 of them coming from New Zealand.
The new recruits are needed because the prison population is expected to reach 10,000 by 2017. This increase is due to more people being held in prison on remand than previously. Legislative changes have also meant prisoners serve more of their sentence in prison, and there has been an increase in prisoners serving longer sentences for more serious crimes. 
NZ Lawyer recently published an article about the falling court statistics.
Here's one explanation:

“The police have made greater use of pre-charge warnings and alternative mechanisms (eg, community and iwi justice panels) to ensure minor offending is more appropriately dealt with.”

I suspect that is the major reason. Not an improvement in behaviour. Serious offending continues at the same levels.


Mark Wahlberg said...

I don't want to labour the point with this ruby player drama, but the young man in question has the look of a victim of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. If this is the case, then this bloke is condemned to a life of frustration, anger and violence. There is no cure and there are literally thousands of undiagnosed individuals with this disorder in society today waiting to explode.

The problem is getting worse and most of the blame can be laid at the door of Kiwi's drinking culture.

This recognized yet under reported fact is going to add to future statistics involving violence and prison populations.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for incoming Families Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft to step in and defend poor Losi Filipi for being tried as a 17 year old as an adult. If Andrew Becroft's wishes were law - this would have all been nicely tidied up behind closed doors in the Youth Court and Filipo could have had some hugs instead of the nasty community service he was punished with.

Why isn't the incoming Families Commissioner stepping up to explain how his theoretical whining should be applied in the real world situation?


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Being pedantic, he's Children's Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

My apologies - however, he's still being hypocritically silent on the whole matter