That the National Government is touting its “boot camps” as a successful method of tackling youth justice issues is a cruel joke, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says.
While an evaluation of the Fresh Start military-style activity camps found 35 of 42 participants who had been out of the programme for a year had re-offended, Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows has described them as “working well”.
“If 83 per cent of young people completing the boot camps then went onto reoffend in just the first year after graduating is considered a success, I’d hate to see what National considers to be a failure.
“For me, success looks like the Te Hurihanga programme, piloted by Labour in Hamilton from 2007 to 2009. It worked with the most serious serial youth offenders and delivered a 100 per cent success rate. None of the graduates offended in the first year after completion.
“And the Government closed it down in 2009.
“It’s no surprise these boot camps are failing – they have also failed overseas and National knew this before it imposed them on New Zealanders.
“Paula Bennett should admit this experiment has been a total flop. She and her colleagues wanted to look tough with their boot camp approach. Unfortunately the only people the Government has been tough on are the victims of the constant reoffending by those being turned out by these programmes.
“National got it wrong when it closed down Te Hurihanga. It would have done well to have picked up Labour’s success story and rolled it out across the country.”