Boots and all

Written By: - Date published: 4:18 pm, February 16th, 2009 - 51 comments
Categories: law and "order", national/act government - Tags:

Tracey Watkins reports that National has announced details of its Boot Camps policy: “The military-style camp programme would target the 40 most serious young offenders and consist of up to three months’ residential training, using army type facilities or training methods.”

40?

I thought this was going to be some massive project turning the next generation of dreaded underclass into the kids off Full House. 40 is barely more than the number of kids on that reality TV show ‘The Outsiders’.

Well, at least if they’re going to waste money on these stupid boot camps, at least they’re not wasting too much. Although I do wonder how much of their beloved ‘bureaucrats’ time and money the Government has expended working up a policy for 40 people.

If we really want to do something about youth offending, and offending in general, we need to make serious, well-planned investment drawing on the screeds of sociology and criminology research to target the social and economic conditions that lead to offending. But that’s not going to happen with the ‘utu gang’ in charge.

Look forward to more dumb policies like this and the three strikes law. And look forward to the crime rate starting to climb again.

51 comments on “Boots and all”

  1. @ work 1

    Was it 5 or 15% the increase in offending that the last program like this caused?

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    If they turn it into a reality TV show, it’ll pay for itself. They could have that scottish bloke from the money show on.

    L

  3. 40? FORTY? Not four hundred? Or four thousand? (Or four!)

    I guess in one way it does make sense to pilot it first. Do they perhaps intend to do just a pilot with forty?

  4. @ work 4

    [sorry, that should have said reoffending]

  5. This is more window dressing. I cannot see it making much difference if any.

    Under current legislation supervision with activity (which can include living in a “boot camp”) is for three months and can be followed by a further three months supervision. Alternatively supervision with residence (essentially youth jail) is for 3 months with a further 6 months supervision. If the young person’s offending is bad enough then they can be transferred to the District Court for sentence and supervision can be for up to 2 years. Supervision could envisage a stay at a “Boot Camp”.

    Nothing stops the Judge from putting a young person on bail with conditions to stay at a certain place before sentence and there is no problem with the whole process taking a year. The problem tends to be money related rather than with the legislation.

    Most of the other things they propose happen already. Many young people have conditions that they not consume drink or drugs and Youth Aid officers often visit their homes to check on curfew and at the same time administer an alcohol test using a breath test machine.

    Counselling happens all the time, mentoring already happens and bail conditions habitually require the young person not to associate with fellow gang members, or to attend school. Family Group Conference plans also often cover this.

    As for the 12 and 13 year olds attending court if the offence is bad enough they already can be required to attend the Family Court under the declaration provisions of the Act.

    Overall most of the stuff happens already. Resourcing difficulties and not legal impediments stop it happening more often.

    Can we expect to see an increase in funding for CYF?

    One final comment, you are right about the need to do “serious, well-planned investment drawing on the screeds of sociology and criminology research to target the social and economic conditions that lead to offending”. The serious offenders can mostly be spotted by the age of 5. The proposed arrangement seems to be to let them fester for another 9 years and then deal to them.

  6. QoT 6

    Word to the wise: when the phrases “military-style” and “army-type” feature prominently, it’s probably a good sign that the actual military doesn’t want to touch this bollocks with a ten-foot pole.

    There’s a certain type of person who thinks “military = good venue for rehabilitation of young offenders”, and they’re the type who actually think “those farkin yoof need a short sharp shock” and are just trying to make it sound commonsense and practical.

  7. Pat 7

    Um – maybe I watch more telly than you guys, but from what I saw of “The Outsiders” it made a positive life change to many of the kids involved. They had started work-related courses and study, and generally changed their criminal and anti-social behaviour. These kids were on course to becoming career crims, so I am fully supportive of this particular programme targeting Maori boys who have been expelled from schools and are repeat juvenile offenders.

    As for Nationals boot camp idea, there was a similar progamme being carried out in the UK and featured on a recent TV series. A high number of the boys stayed on to make the army/navy their career. So don’t knock it till you try it.

  8. Mello C 8

    All this will do is introduce these young people to a prison-like environment even earlier in life. If anything, leadership camps of some kind are what is needed.

    (Also, my parents work for the military and think boot camps are a shit idea)

  9. Ag 9

    This is just a pitch for the fascist vote.

  10. Felix 10

    So we take the 40 most serious, dangerous, committed young criminals we can find and give them military training?

    Can’t see anything going wrong with that…

  11. Felix

    Teach them how to shoot straight and fight effectively, and how to blow up things?

    What harm could be done?

  12. It will probably not surprise the many readers here that I am supportive of this idea.
    I especially like Mello C’s comment around leadership camps.
    Rather than peeling spuds and marching up and down being barked at by some short, loud small dicked idiot I would like to see EVERY SINGLE 18 YEAR OLD IN NZ undertake a 12 month period of national service.
    Now before any of you start wailing about armed forces fodder, I am not suggesting that it be military based but it does need to be grounded in strict rules.
    There are many different activities that could be undertaken to help our next generation grow together into proud citizens.
    No exceptions would be allowed, every single kid turning 18 would go in for 12 months.
    working with DoC
    Overseas aid programmes to the pacific
    Spending time with the elderly
    All those and more, plus basic life skills including learning how to grow a spud and cook it.
    Mix them all in together we will have a generation forged in common experiences.

  13. Final thought. Phil Goff has just been quoted on the telly with a nice talking point, off the cuff comment about boot camps turning out faster, fitter criminals.
    Taking that to its logical end can we expect him to demand that all prisons remove exercise gear and confine criminals to bed for the entirety of their sentence?
    Seriously, i realise there is a decompression period after an election but how much longer are you guys going to tolerate this old has been before you get Little in to the leaders role?

  14. Joseph 14

    Proud citizens? Where are you from? The US? Been woken up at 6:30 AM to start the day with a cold shower doesn’t make me a proud citizen, what makes me a proud citizen is when I see people making sense, instead of just providing kneejerk reactions that don’t help anybody.

  15. Mello C 15

    Yeah, um, barnsley…

    What an absurd, fascistic idea.

  16. All I hear on this site is spend, spend, spend, blah, blah, blah. But when somebody suggests something that will help remove barriers in class, race and perceived education they just have pooh poured on them by some dullard doper who is scared of getting out of bed early.
    i would have thought civil service, giving something to your country would be right up the socialist alley, or is just about eat the rich and stop people getting ahead after all?

  17. sweeetdisorder 17

    The left and labour is on the wrong side on this one. Public opinion is very much against you and wants more to be seen to be done on crims. Good way to knock off another 2% on preferred party polls. If you need a hint, now is the time for labour to shut up, you had 9 years to speak, you have been voted out.

    Is the plan to wait till labour approaches 30% before Phil gets the chop

    Joseph

    I think the only time these boot camp peeps have been up at 6.30am is when they have been coming back from a night out.

  18. mike 18

    You poor guys are tying yourselves up in knots at present. Another Nats policy = another post to discredit it.
    I think you need to spend some time discussing how inept the current opposition is and how to replace the hapless Goff with someone who at least gives the impression of moving things on.

  19. Redbaiter 19

    “we need to make serious, well-planned investment drawing on the screeds of sociology and criminology research to target the social and economic conditions that lead to offending.”

    Well, doesn’t take much research or psychological mumbo jumbo to arrive at the cause of crime. Check these stats, and leaving Dominica aside, what’s the link among so many of the top listed countries??

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri_percap-crime-total-crimes-per-capita

    Hint- begins with S, ends in m, and has ocialis in the middle. (Yeah, I know its difficult but I also know you really smart leftists like a challenge)

  20. Rex Widerstrom 20

    I thought this was going to be some massive project turning the next generation of dreaded underclass into the kids off Full House.

    If John Key finds a way of producing more Olsen twins so there’s enough to go round, he’s got my vote 😀

    Generally my attitude to “boot camps” is that the only thing that will change is that, while we’re still probably going to get our heads kicked in by a thug, at least now his Docs will now be highly polished.

    However, the idea of forcibly intervening in someone’s life while they’re still young (and, much as we might wish it to be otherwise, a forcible intervention is about the only way you’ll get them out of their environment) isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se. As mickeysavage points out:

    Nothing stops the Judge from putting a young person on bail with conditions to stay at a certain place before sentence and there is no problem with the whole process taking a year. The problem tends to be money related rather than with the legislation.

    The provision in the legislation for “New powers for the Youth Court to issue a range of compulsory orders, including parenting, mentoring and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes” promises to expand on this even further.

    What the article doesn’t say is what budget is allocated to all this. We could be looking at something that might turn around a significant number of lives (even the 40 sent off to “boot camp”) or we could be looking at yet another sop to Act and it’s SST wing. Only the dollars attached will tell us which.

  21. tsmithfield 21

    The success of the program will depend a lot on the quality of the support in the community after the training.

    One of my lecturers had run a borstal type facility in the states as the last stop before prison for serious offenders. His experience was that it was relatively easy to get change while the participant was away from their environment. However, once they returned to their previous environment any gains achieved quickly disappeared. My lecturer had a much better success rate when support systems were established in the community:- e.g., job placement, mentoring, family support etc.

    So, I think it is a bit premature to rubbish the concept yet. Lets see if the results justify the program being expanded.

  22. ak 22

    Been done, being done, and like all “common sense” ideas (including privately-run prisons, Rex), some success stories (currently one such in Taranaki much-lauded by Becroft) but highly dependent on the individuals involved – and (very expensive) follow-up.

    Trouble is, lots of disasters down the ages too. Like private prisons (and healthcare), a peek at the US gives us a fairly good idea of the long-term prognosis for such ideas. Not a pretty sight.

    A wise old bird in this very field once told me “all they need is love”. That last word’s the key: and as Lennon and Capitalism have taught us, money caint buy it. What’s essential is genuine Rexonian motivation: put an Ed Hillary or JC clone in charge and you won’t go wrong.

    Sadly, it’s the frustrated patrol leader with fascistic tendencies and a whiff of S/M paederasty that tends to inveigle himself into these positions over time – with catastrophic results. And such bacteria blossom in an atmosphere of rabid, right-wing populism.

    Watch the watchers like a hawk, Johnny boy – means more bureaucrats, sorry. (and while I’ve got you, keep stiffing those toxic toryboys as you trip the Lab-lite fantastic: a real pleasure to see some of them slowly bumbling towards the light in your wake… “A Labour govt I lead” – indeed!)

  23. Pat 23

    I have been looking this up tonight. The Boot Camp concept for juvenile offenders has been running in some states since the 90’s but in the main there has been a lack of studies done into the effectiveness. I have found this abstract from a recent study which looks interesting:

    “Leaving Boot Camp: The Impact of Mandatory Aftercare on Offender Re-Entry” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Royal York, Toronto, 2009-02-16

    Abstract: This study examined the impact of a mandatory 90-day aftercare program for the graduates of Pennsylvania’s six-month Boot Camp Program. The study included 383 offenders in the pre aftercare group and 337 offenders in the post aftercare group, and tracked recidvism for a two year period. One of the advantages to this study is that we were able to examine the impact of individual versus programmatic characteristics on criminal behavior. Data sources included an Offender Survey, an Aftercare Facility Survey, and official corrections and police records. Our statistical techniques included logistic regression and survival analysis. The major finding was that offenders who did participate in the mandatory aftercare program were significantly less likely to recidivate.

  24. Ag 24

    but it does need to be grounded in strict rules.

    Yes, there have to be RULES. And they have to be STRICT, and orders MUST BE OBEYED.

    There’s no evidence that any of this really works, and it’s not like evidence matters to its supporters anyway. It’s an authoritarian’s wet dream, and probably appeals to the same people who want to bring back flogging. If these camps are supposed to concentrate their inmates on a righteous life, perhaps we should call them “concentration camps”.

    The only people who should be sent to this and yelled at by some Windsor Davies clone are the politicians who proposed the policy.

    You know what lowers crime? The existence of well-paying and secure jobs, that’s what. The rest is just window dressing.

  25. Redbaiter 25

    “You know what lowers crime? The existence of well-paying and secure jobs, that’s what.”

    Utter crap. During the great depression, with massive unemployment, crime rates were still a fraction of what they are today. Denmark is one of Europe’s most affluent societies. Its fourth worst in global crime statistics. In Norway, where due to massive oil revenues, unemployment is minimal and affluence is the norm, crime rates are still the thirteenth highest in the world with many countries far less well off having far less crime.

    Your claim is abject fantasy and almost a deliberate lie.

    Shame your psychosis won’t allow you to admit the real reason crime and violence are at intolerable levels in NZ- the deliberate destruction of the moral fabric of society and the creation of an amoral underclass by politically motivated power obsessed progressives.

  26. Joseph 26

    Redbaiter, as a few people highlighted in the comments of the link to the crime study with New Zealand being 2nd on crime statistics, it’s because we do live in such an egaliatarian society. Crimes are reported here, without fear of retribution from either the criminals themselves, the people (as in rape crimes in many religiously conservative countries), and by police departments that simply don’t care and don’t want to do anything about it.

    But, then again you might be right Redbaiter, it’s because of how amoral the youth are, we need more religion to teach people the err of their ways. Women also ought t to get back in the kitchen, eh? And a flogging for anyone who swears in public! That’ll make a healthy society.

  27. Rex Widerstrom 27

    ak:

    …the frustrated patrol leader with fascistic tendencies and a whiff of S/M…

    Heh heh, I love a picturesque turn of phrase and that sounds just like a character study of…no, I won’t go there, much as some people richly deserve an ad hominem attack or two 😀

    I don’t dispute anything you’ve said (though private prisons can be well run and save $8 – $15 million pa as I’ve mentioned here).

    But just because it might be hard to create a well-funded program of intervention not fun by protofascists in camo pants can which divert young people from their otherwise inevitable progress towards their third strike, doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.

  28. Pat 29

    cha is being deliberately misleading with that link. There are a large number of privately run boot camps in the US where parents PAY to send their kids for ANY reason e.g. to harden them up, or if you don’t like their friends etc. There have been plenty of horror stories from these camps and little evidence that they work.

    To compare apples with apples, you need to look at State run boot camps specifically targeting violent juvenile offenders, who have been sent to the camp by the Courts.

  29. cha 30

    Pat, like the two Pennsylvania judges who were charged with taking $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care

  30. Pat 31

    Exactly cha. Those two detention centres are PRIVATELY owned and operated. Hence why a kickback scheme managed to operate in the first place. In addition they cater for specific offenders like sex offenders and fire setters. So there can be no comparison to what is being planned here.

    You burnt down your own strawman.

  31. the sprout 32

    At least National are being consistent with their philosophy of reactionary populist policies that don’t actually achieving anything, except being seen to be doing something.

  32. cha 33

    Pat, National want parts of the prison system to be run by the private sector so why do you think these camps will be any different?.

  33. @ work 34

    “barnsleybill:
    perceived education ”

    BAHAHAHA, wanker.

    Was it you yesterday saying that they need to bring back corpral punishment in schools?

    I cant be bothered finding the post and replying to it, but I know its right up your alley, so I just thought I’d tell you that if they brung back corpral punishment in schools, I’d teach my childen to hit thier teachers back, if they hit them.

    And redbaiters crime statistics above need checking, I dont think any one here would put it past him to lie to prove a point.

    You also still havent got back to me here: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/which-end-to-break-the-egg-and-other-pointless-debates/#comment-117511 so put up or shut up.

  34. Chess Player 35

    I think if it stops one serious crime such as a murder, being committed, then this effort is worthwhile.

  35. @ work 36

    The last time they had this kind of program in place it increased reoffending. So you’d probably have to say it’s not worthwhile.

  36. BLiP 37

    This whole “boot camp” thing is about taking revenge on offenders as opposed to seriously considering the cause of crime and how best to address it. Its also yet another way the government can fund private enterprise so that it may feed on the misery of others while scoffing at the public trough.

  37. Redbaiter 38

    “You also still havent got back to me here:”

    Sorry, but I’ll choose when and who I “get back to”, and I don’t have the time or inclination to deal with the irrational drivel of retards who should be in special care and weaving cane baskets rather than at large and writing stuff on blogs.

  38. Matthew Pilott 39

    Sorry, but I’ll choose when and who I “get back to’, and I don’t have the time or inclination to deal with the irrational drivel of retards who should be in special care and weaving cane baskets rather than at large and writing stuff on blogs.

    Translation: Redbaiter run and hide when there are questions Redbaiter can’t answer or Redbaiter has been shown to be wrong, because Redbaiter is thoroughly unable to show any degree of intellectual honesty.

    Redbaiter will then then hurl out some jaded insults to distract you because Redbaiter suspects anger is a substitute for knowledge.

  39. Redbaiter 40

    “Translation: Redbaiter run and hide when there are questions Redbaiter can’t answer or Redbaiter has been shown to be wrong, because Redbaiter is thoroughly unable to show any degree of intellectual honesty.”

    OK Mr. Pillock. Here’s your turn to show your moral superiority to Redbaiter. Show how that allegation applies in the case of @work’s infantile question- “how is less government different to less people?”A question I regard as so lame as to signify the writer is completely clueless and beyond any further effort. How about you putting some of the afore mentioned effort into showing me where I’m wrong (it should be so easy for a genius like you) instead of like so many other c*mm*es on here, writing screeds of off topic hate??

  40. @ work 41

    My question was how does less government, or less people, help you warn more people that bush fires are heading thier way, please do not misrepresent it.

  41. Felix 42

    Show how that allegation applies in the case of @work’s infantile question- “how is less government different to less people?’

    Why? @work didn’t write that. He wrote “You still can’t explain how less government could have warned more people.”

    And now, some cliche hatred from a silly boy…

    edit: snap

  42. Redbaiter 43

    Why? @work didn’t write that. He wrote “You still can’t explain how less government could have warned more people.’

    Are you really so devoid of imagination, so blocked in your thinking, so blinkered and narrow in your mind, that you cannot imagine that without government assuming the role of protector, people would set up their own warning systems, as they have done so effectively in the past, and that if left to those people, there would not have been $60 million spent on tidal wave warnings (when tidal waves are an almost non existent risk) when the pressing need was for a bush fire alert system. (when bushfires are high risk).

  43. Jasper 44

    So with the camps, would this be considered as strike one?
    Will we be looking eventually towards getting all 17/18 year olds who leave school without going to uni/work/OE, into the armed forces for 12 months?
    A 12 week boot camp, for 40 people at a time won’t be anywhere near enough time. This is less than Police College – and we know how stellar those recruits are.
    Will Chesters Bill to increase PC from 14 to 26 weeks become a reality?
    Will it include mandatory educational standards?
    What about the boot camp? Will they be taught that food isn’t made out the back of McDonalds/KFC/BK?

    I support the notion, but with all notions, unless there is decent followup and committment, with associated funding, boot camps are nothing more than lip service.

    Captcha: Hardest $1 (spent?)

  44. Matthew Pilott 45

    Red, your original example was crap. We have a certain style of government, something bad happened, ergo it was bug guvmint’s fault. When you get called out for writing crap and you resort to flinging more crap, don’t be surprised when people suggest that you’re full of crap.

    It’s not impossible that an equally sized government could have pooled people’s resources to provide that warning system. A bushfire warning system and a tsunami warning system aren’t mutually exclusive are they, Redbaiter? It’s probably worth noting that the Tsunami (tidal waves were discounted some decades, if not centuries ago) system was in response to a disaster that cost nearly half a million lives.

  45. @ work 46

    “Redbaiter
    February 17, 2009 at 10:34 am
    Why? @work didn’t write that. He wrote “You still can’t explain how less government could have warned more people.’

    Are you really so devoid of imagination, so blocked in your thinking, so blinkered and narrow in your mind, that you cannot imagine that without government assuming the role of protector, people would set up their own warning systems, as they have done so effectively in the past, and that if left to those people, there would not have been $60 million spent on tidal wave warnings (when tidal waves are an almost non existent risk) when the pressing need was for a bush fire alert system. (when bushfires are high risk).”

    So long as the government did nothing to impede the people from setting up thier own warning system, your point is not vaild. But thankyou for answering.

  46. ak 47

    Rex: …doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.

    Oh abso-blooming-lutely Rex. Definitely worth a crack, and on top of the dole-expansion, min-wage raise and “stimulus” stuff, an old pinko can’t complain…..(yet).

    BUT, (and like Jerry’s, it’s a big butt), as Jasper notes, genuine oversight, motivation, commitment, and “aftercare” are crucial.

    If wee Johnny could convince me of the above (say by firmly and publicly flushing all this dogwhistling, vote-trawling “boot camp” rhetoric back down the lav where it belongs), I’d almost write out a cheque for the National Party tomorrow….. (almost)

    (@work: but thank you for answering. and thank you for being so civil, @. So lovely to see people treating their pets nicely)

  47. Ben R 48

    It depends what you mean by ‘boot camp’.

    There’s a new programme in Hamilton and this one in Counties Manukau which seem to have a better success rate.

    “Counties Manukau programme Male Youth New Directions (MYND) attempts to turn around the lives of South Auckland’s worst youth offenders.

    The boys are typically Maori or Pacific Islanders, with convictions for crimes from burglary and tagging to wounding with intent to injure and grievous bodily harm.

    Offenders aged 14 to 17 undergo a 20-week discipline and mentoring programme, which includes an intense 10-day army-like camp, or “away phase”, in which they are stripped of their belongings and gang identities and have their hair trimmed.

    As well as intense physical activity, the participants undergo counselling sessions and are reminded of their responsibility for the offences they have committed.

    The programme, run by former soldier Stephen Boxer, is completed in an 18-week reintegration phase, where the participants aim to return to their communities under supervision.

    Since the programme’s inception seven years ago, there has been a 58 per cent reduction in total offending from graduates and a 71 per cent drop in serious crimes. Mr Boxer says the military component is only a foundation for ongoing development of individuals.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10557112

  48. Rex Widerstrom 49

    ak: Precisely. To which I’d add “and some effort round social programmes to stop them ending up there in the first place”. We can dream, can’t we?

  49. @ work 50

    Every one also seems to be forgetting than youth crime is dropping, about 15% over Labours term, some of that will be rolled back with the state of the economy, but all of the research I looked at showed by far the best intervention for youth offenders, was on thier first offence, a stern talking to by a youth aid officer, and some restoritive justice if appropriate.

    Just reminded of this when I saw someone on kiwiblog claim labours approch to youth justice was not working. Demonstratably false as the rate is dropping significantly faster than over all crime statistics. The usual story though, reporting of youth crime is rising, moral panic and all that.

  50. r0b 51

    Redbaiter Denmark is one of Europe’s most affluent societies. Its fourth worst in global crime statistics. In Norway, where due to massive oil revenues, unemployment is minimal and affluence is the norm, crime rates are still the thirteenth highest in the world with many countries far less well off having far less crime.

    @work And redbaiters crime statistics above need checking, I dont think any one here would put it past him to lie to prove a point.

    RB (who is tragically dull with the stale insults, and more interesting when engaging in discussion) is probably citing these stats from a UN survey conducted 1998 – 2000:

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri_percap-crime-total-crimes-per-capita

    But this is a case of lies, damn lies and statistics, note the warning that comes with the data: Note: Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence – nothing much can be concluded from this data. Note also the useful first comment on that page.

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