The sentencing of 14 year old Ngatai Rewiti today for throwing rocks onto a motorway and killing a motorist is a short term punishment and solution, but it doesn’t deal with the root causes.
Sources close to the family have contacted Family First expressing concern about the family environment which Ngatai was being raised in. Drug and alcohol abuse, and family breakdown and dysfunction are highlighted as contributing factors to a 14 year old who now faces imprisonment for an act of stupidity with tragic consequences.
“While the sentencing today passes judgement for the rock throwing, it does not confront the real issues which are contributing to young people becoming at-risk and committing serious and violent crimes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director or Family First.
“Sentencing of our young people for crimes needs to be extended to include placing requirements on the families involved. To deal with only the young person without confronting the family issues is ‘band-aid’ treatment.”
“Too many young offenders are coming from families where there is family breakdown (and especially the absence of the father), parenting difficulties, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and employment and education issues.”
To keep a young person from getting into a lifestyle of crime, we also need to change the family environment which these young people are growing up in, and strengthen these families.
Sentencing of young offenders must be extended to target family dysfunction. Otherwise, the punishment is just ‘window dressing’.