Practice: The New Zealand Corrections Journal - Volume 1 Issue 2: November 2013 - Youth

Practice: The New Zealand Corrections Journal - Vo…
30 Nov 2013

Issue two of Practice: The New Zealand Corrections Journal focuses on youth offending and includes:

  • Editorial - David Wales
  • Early development and youth offending: Practical implications for intervention with, and reintegration of young prisoners - Devon L. L Polaschek
  • Youth who sexually abuse: Characteristics, treatment outcomes and practice implications - Clare-Ann Fortune
  • A new way of working with young people - Kevin Kneebone
  • Programmes for younger people - Gordon Sinclair
  • Working effectively with youth - Debra Cresswell and Vinnie Campbell
  • Case managers and the youth units - Madeline Butler-Munro
  • An introduction to offending by youth - Glen Kilgour

Welcome to Issue 2 of Practice: The Corrections Journal.

We’ve had some great feedback on our first issue, and word of its arrival has spread across the country and beyond our shores. We’re delighted that this publication can showcase some of the great work that is going on in New Zealand to work more effectively with offenders and bring re-offending rates down.

Issue 2 is a special issue in that we’ve decided to focus on a single topic, a topic that is particularly important if we are going to really get to grips with reducing re-offending. All the articles in this issue focus on youth offending. It’s timely to dedicate an issue to this topic, since although youth crime rates are dropping in New Zealand, there are still significant numbers of young people making their way through the criminal justice system and ultimately coming to Corrections to serve prison or community-based sentences.
As a Department we want to do better with these young people. To signal our commitment to achieving this we have created a youth strategy as a means of aligning all the work we are doing and to highlight the areas where we need to do more. We have recently appointed a dedicated principal advisor youth strategy to lead this work. This is tangible evidence of our commitment to doing better for young offenders so they go on to commit fewer crimes and create fewer victims.

As with much of the work we do in Corrections, we cannot expect to succeed if we try to address youth crime alone, so we are partnering with other justice and social sector agencies to share expertise and knowledge and work together in ways to better address the problems.

It’s a real honour that so early in the establishment of our new publication we’ve had respected academics and experienced senior officials from other agencies submit articles to sit alongside those of our own experts in this issue. This bodes well for the future of Practice. We are sure that there is something for everyone in this issue and, as we encouraged you to do last time, we hope you all take the opportunity to read beyond the articles that at first glimpse appear to be the most relevant to your own practice. That way Practice will achieve its aim of exchanging knowledge and ideas that lead to better practice.

Police are often the first agency to come into contact with a young person when they are thought to have committed a crime. The actions that police take can have a key influence on the path that young people take. SeniorSergeant Kevin Kneebone’s article tells us how Police have made youth one of their top priorities. He discusses the “alternative actions” that Police are able to take when working with young people.

We have three papers in this issue describing the specialist work of Corrections staff with young offenders (in Corrections we use this term to describe offenders under the age of 20). Corrections operates three specialist youth units which house offenders aged nineteen years or younger, and are situated within Waikeria Prison, Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison and Christchurch Men’s Prison. Maddy Butler-Munro’s paper outlines the integral part that case managers play in the rehabilitation and reintegration of the young people who pass through these units. Debra Creswell and Vinnie Campbell explain how probation officers can work effectively with young offenders and illustrate how one probation team have developed a youth-centric approach to practice. Gordon Sinclair summarises the characteristics of rehabilitation programmes that work for young offenders. These characteristics are applied to the interventions we use in Corrections.

Some young offenders commit very serious crimes. Clare-Ann Fortune’s paper describes the individual, family and offence characteristics of youth who sexually abuse, looks at the effectiveness of specialist community-based treatment programmes for sexually abusive youth in New Zealand, and outlines some key practice implications for those working with sexually abusive youth.

As this issue shows, youth offending is an area that attracts some skilled and passionate people, and I have no doubt that focusing on this area will contribute significantly towards Corrections’ goal of reducing re-offending by 25 percent by 2017.

David Wales
Assistant General Manager Programme Design and Implementation
Department of Corrections

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018