9 Jan 2011

Justice system 'not working' for young offenders

11:41 am on 9 January 2011

A former district and youth court judge says the current regime of dealing with young offenders just does not work, and there has to be a better way.

A recent report from the Ministry of Social Development Ministry showed four out of five young offenders commit another crime within two years of being sentenced in the Youth Court.

Carolyn Henwood, who served as a judge for 22 years, is on the parole board and says the prison system is getting "obese" and it's time to put it on a diet.

Judge Henwood says the closure of the wrap-around youth offender course, Te Hurihanga, based in Waikato, was a tragedy.

She says it was successful where other programmes have failed but the Government closed it because it said it was too expensive.