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Boot Camp Bill Passes First Reading

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 18 NZPA - The Government's `boot camp' bill passed its first reading in Parliament tonight and has been sent to a select committee for public submissions.

The policy, called Fresh Start, widens the powers of the Youth Court with a range of new sentencing options including sending the worst repeat offenders to military-style camps run by the army.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the bill was aimed at the worst 1000 young offenders who were on a path to becoming the adult criminals of tomorrow.

Labour's social development spokeswoman Annette King said Ms Bennett had previously confirmed that the military-style camps would not be ready until the end of 2010.

"It's being rushed, it's being introduced under urgency, it's an absolute disgrace," she said.

Ms King cited evidence from other countries that boot camps didn't work.

"They were abolished in Florida two years ago. A British report says they were a failure in 2002, a US report says corrective training hasn't led to fewer young criminals," she said.

"This is really the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, it's not an approach that addresses the causes of offending."

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Youth Court Jurisdictions and Orders) Amendment Bill passed its first reading 64-58 and was referred to the social services select committee.

NZPA PAR pw reg

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