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Youth offending and employment Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs “People Connecting: Connecting People” Nelson, 15 November, 2005 Andrew Becroft, Principal Youth Court Judge Te Kaiwhakawa Matua o Te Kooti Taiohi Some of the great all time lies….: Some of the great all time lies…. At home “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you…” “You look great in that…” “I only read it for the articles...” “The camera doesn’t lie…” “Sorry I’m late, the traffic was really busy tonight…” Some great lies….: Some great lies…. At work “The cheque is in the post…” “Actually, I just dictated a letter to you before you rang…” “I’m sorry, he is in a meeting…” Some great lies….: Some great lies…. In sport “I’ve always been drug free…” Ben Johnson, 1988, after winning Olympic 100 meters final “I have always been faithful to Victoria…” David Beckham “I didn’t add anything to the tea, Mr Mains” Susie the WaitressSome great lies….: Some great lies…. In World Affairs “That wooden horse is just a gift, honest…” “I have brought peace in our time…” 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain “There will be no new taxes…read my lips” 1989, President George Bush (the father) “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” 1998, President William Jefferson Clinton Some misunderstandings about youth offending...: Some misunderstandings about youth offending... 1. Youth offending is sky rocketing out of control. 2. Youth offenders are all the same. (see handout) 3. Employment/training has no real link with youth offending trends 4. Concerned individuals & community groups can’t do much to build resilience in young people or to stop youth offending.The Good News: The Good News “There is hope. More than ever before, we know what to do to reduce offending by young people. We know more about…how to reduce the likelihood of [offending behaviour] than at any other time in the history of society. We also know more about how to build on young peoples’ strengths and address their weak areas …than ever before” Kaye McLaren; “Tough is not Enough” 2000Outline: Outline 1. Who I am 2. What we know about youth offending and youth offenders (see handout) 3. The “Four Legs” 4. Why work works! 5. How you, and the community, can make a difference 6. ConclusionSlide9: It is a crucial time to be involved!I speak in several capacities….: I speak in several capacities…. 1. As a (former) lawyer… 2. As a judge... 3. As a father... …as a father: …as a father Dear Dad Whenever I have a problem I always follow your advice….. And ask Mum Happy Father’s DaySlide12: You can’t beat Wellington on a good day, or on a bad day, too!2. What Do We Know About Youth Offending?“Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”: 2. What Do We Know About Youth Offending? “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” “There are a number of children running about the streets of Dunedin … without the control of parents. If the government does not take them in hand … they will become … members of a criminal class.”“Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” (cont.): “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” (cont.) “There is a definite relationship between the increase in the number of children on the streets and the increase in juvenile crime.” First headline from the Otago Daily Times 1884; second in 1886 (from Dr Gabrielle Maxwell)“Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” (cont.): “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” (cont.) Each generation unfavourably compares today’s young people with previous “golden ages” Poor centralised statistics Much debated, frequently distorted Selective statistics mislead Debate is welcomed; must be informed debate3. The “Four Legs”: 3. The “Four Legs” A helpful framework Vital in understanding a young person’s life All here are directly or indirectly involved in one of these 4 areas Effective interventions target these four areas Home School/employment Friends/peers Community3. The “Four Legs” (cont.): 3. The “Four Legs” (cont.) A helpful framework Vital in understanding a young person’s life All here are directly or indirectly involved in one of these 4 areas Effective interventions target these four areas Home School Friends/peers CommunityHome: Home 1. Very few serious youth offenders from stable, two-parent, homes not saying “every solo mother breeds a criminal” not making judgment about separation 2. Most serious young offenders lack a positive, male, role model 3. Family disadvantage - dysfunction usually of fundamental importanceSchool/Employment: School/Employment “Increasing attendance and participation in school by young people a key factor in reducing anti-social behaviour and offending”. Not all truants/non-enrolled young people offend: but overwhelming majority of offenders are truants or not enrolled. May not be causative; but a clear link exists. Every young person kept at school/engaged in employment is one less potential career criminal? Friends/Peers: Friends/Peers Young people seek out role models like heat seeking missile Only issue: who is it that they look to? A teacher, youth group leader, sports coach, bible class leader, community organisation leader, OR a serious young offender, a gang, a gang leader?Community “Connectedness”: Community “Connectedness” “A kid in sport stays out of Court” sign outside Blenheim airport A young person involved in sport, or any organised, positive community activity, stays out of Youth Court. A very protective factor - builds resilience: good friends, good role models, good discipline, fulfilment and success.4. Why work works: 4. Why work works “Work” is of fundamental importance in stopping youth offending (prevention) and stopping young offenders offending again. Work provides experienced adults acting as mentors, with tight supervision, discipline of timeliness, stability, routine, income, life skills, wisdom from work-mates with different perspectives, self worth = “apprenticeship”! (See handout material)What works with “Early Onset” Offenders (and what doesn’t) (From Lipsey,1992): What works with “Early Onset” Offenders (and what doesn’t) (From Lipsey,1992) Intervention Type Multi-systemic family therapy Prepared for employment Behaviour contract Institutional training Court/Probation Offender Counselling Family Counselling Deterrent Sentencing Change in expected re-offending rate 44% decrease 35% decrease 25% decrease 15% decrease 10% decrease 8% decrease No change 25% increasePolicy Implications for Dealing with Serious Young Offenders: Policy Implications for Dealing with Serious Young Offenders Most un-researched interventions are either detrimental, produce no change at all or produce relatively little cost effective change. Providing the right kind of intervention is more important than providing a lot of intervention. Contact with the official, punishment oriented justice system has either no effect on future offending behaviour or increases it.Policy Implications for Dealing with Serious Young Offenders (cont.): Policy Implications for Dealing with Serious Young Offenders (cont.) Treatment based around counselling and psychotherapy have limited impact and are probably not cost effective. Programmes that keep young people in the mainstream (school for example) and prepare them for adult roles, or actually getting them employment are the most effective. All cultures and both genders respond in similar ways.5. Some challenges : How we can make a difference: 5. Some challenges : How we can make a difference 8 challenges I am no expert “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” Not here to preach or lecture My aim to provoke and encourage reflectioni. Be good parents and encourage family stability: i. Be good parents and encourage family stability 1. Nobody ever wanted written on their gravestone: “I wish I had spent more time at the office” 2. Love is a four letter word spelt TIME 3. Develop a hobby/activity that can be shared with a child for life, even when you are old and decrepit - fishing, chess 4. Special activity or trip with each child, twice a yearii. Support & encourage parenting programmes and seminars: ii. Support & encourage parenting programmes and seminars iii The importance of mentoring: iii The importance of mentoring 1. Involvement in mentoring programmes,or support of mentors is a very practical step that will make a difference. 2. A wonderful opportunity for any adult in the community who wants to make a difference 3. An example: “the man from Microsoft” 4. Support community groups who work with young offenders eg Big Brother Big Sister Mentoring; Project Kiv Support those working with young people: iv Support those working with young people Police Youth Aid CYFS Family Group Conference Co-ordinators and social workers Programmes for “at-risk” young people Especially those working to reduce alcohol and drug dependency v Support those working with at risk children and their mothers: v Support those working with at risk children and their mothers Support those who provide services for at risk young mothers and their young children eg Quality child care programmes Hippy Programme Life Education Trust vi. Encourage school attendance and support your local schools: vi. Encourage school attendance and support your local schools “Increasing attendance & participation in school by young people a key factor in reducing anti-social behaviour & offending” eg - criminal offending Support your local schools and teachers Every young person kept at school is one less potential career criminal??vii. Coach a youth sports team/be involved in community activities: vii. Coach a youth sports team/be involved in community activities viii Consider being a CYFS caregiver: viii Consider being a CYFS caregiver Long term; short term; respite care. Conclusion: Conclusion “To nourish children and raise them against the odds is in any time, any place more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons” Marilyn French “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in” “The Power and the Glory”, Graham GreeneAndrew’s song: Andrew’s song I’m sorry for all the pain that I caused Putting your family through something i could never have stopped And now I’m staring at the stars thinking of what i have done Something stupid of course what was I thinking of Looking for my mentality but that was lost Back in the days BC id be pinned to a cross But instead im writing this rhyme because you gave me a chance So in the words that I write You should know that they came from my heart You opened my eyes despising what I had done Look above and find the strength to carry onAndrew’s Song verse 2: Andrew’s Song verse 2 The stupid things I’ve done in my life Creating enemies that want to bring a lot of strife We’d fight On the streets Is probably where you would see me Drugged out struggling to breath But now im down on my knees With a million apologies Please time freeze wish I could turn back the time Rewind but its all over and done A new era begun The sun has risen And its shining through This song I compose is dedicated to you. 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