Statement from Willow-Jean Prime

“Today’s announcement is simply a repeat of the Government rejecting decades of evidence and expert advice, as they forcibly try to turn marketing slogans into policy,” said children’s spokesperson Willow-Jean Prime.

“Expert advice has already suggested that these boot camps may cause further harm for children who have experienced abuse or suffered deep trauma – all of which are common among youth offenders.

“Forcing these kinds of children into boot camps is cruel and takes our youth rehabilitative system backwards.

“This comes as the Government looks to cull 447 jobs at Oranga Tamariki, which includes more than a dozen youth justice jobs across the organisation.

“To spend more than $5 million on a pilot for 10 kids, when we’re in dire need of more youth-aid officers and social workers, is simply another example of the Government making the wrong choices yet again.

“While I’m glad they’ve repurposed Labour’s model around wraparound support for youth offenders introduced last year – slapping boot camps onto it serves no one but the Government’s ‘look tough, sound tough’ brand.

“We need common-sense, evidence-based wraparound programmes that we know work. I worry the Government is losing sight of who’s being put at risk, when it comes to their baseless experiments, ” said Willow-Jean Prime.

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