Fuseworks Media

IHC says no to boot camps

IHC New Zealand says the Government’s introduction of juvenile boot camps for youth offenders will unfairly target young people with intellectual disability.

In an announcement today, the Minister for Children Karen Chhour said a “military-style academy” run by Oranga Tamariki would be up and running from the middle of this year.

IHC Director of Advocacy Tania Thomas says it flies in the face of the preference of working with families and whānau to support the wellbeing of youth offenders – many of whom have an intellectual disability. Māori are also disproportionately affected.

“There is a growing body of evidence that boot camps may not be effective in reducing recidivism or achieving long-term positive outcomes for youth offenders,” says Tania. “They certainly should not be a stand-alone solution – what we need are comprehensive evidence-based interventions.

“Our data shows that intellectually disabled people are 1.5 times more likely to have a criminal conviction and 3.2 times more likely to be incarcerated.

“We also know that intellectually disabled children are twice as likely to be exposed to family violence compared to other children and more likely to live in low-income families in deprived areas.

“We should be questioning how this overrepresented group got there in the first place and instead look at more appropriate supports to prevent it.

“A one-size-fits-all approach is the antithesis of the Enabling Good Lives approach, and youth offenders, particularly those with an intellectual disability, are better to have supports that are personalised to their specific needs.”


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