Otago Daily Times 02 March 2009
Clinical psychologists have joined the chorus of disapproval of the Government’s planned `boot camps’, saying punishment as a deterrent does not work.
The Government is planning to widen 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. Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft has already put the boot in to boot camps for young offenders. He said last week that sentencing youthful offenders to boot camp was “arguably the least successful sentence in the Western world”.
Physical programmes backed up by mentoring and family support could work, but New Zealand’s corrective training camps, programme which ran up until 2002, found 92 per cent of young attendees reoffended within a year, he told The Dominion Post. “It made them healthier, fitter, faster, but they were still burglars, just harder to catch.” He described it as “a spectacular, tragic, flawed, failure”. Mental health professionals have now joined him, with the New Zealand College of Clinical Pyschologists (NZCCP) saying “getting even does not result in change”.