Child Youth and Family are lobbying to have the age raised at which criminal offenders are tried as adults.
CYF believe that trying 17-year-olds as adults will cause debilitation to the long-term development of that supposedly youthful offender…
This cry for leniency comes around the same time that dozens of New Zealand dairies and liquor stores have undergone recent break-and-entries by these very groups of teenage boys or girls, which in fact have left a number of the aforementioned proprietors suffering life-threatening injuries.
…In an attempt at explaining away the seriousness of these offenders’ actions: ‘Some people’s frontal cortexes aren’t actually fully developed until they are twenty-five years of age, so…’ …
Whether the logic centres of those behind New Zealand’s influx of petty robberies are or are not fully developed, the fact remains: most of the victims of these shameful criminal acts have families; many of these family members are left emotionally scarred by the mistreatment they witness upon their loved one, at the hands of these brutish thugs.
…The Sensible Sentencing Trust doesn’t appear overly concerned with frontal lobe development either: ‘The fact that these kids lack the understanding to fully appreciate that there will be consequences to their actions, doesn’t mean they should be given a free pass.’
The issue seems to be that the deterrent presented to these aspiring thugs is not deterrent enough; while the teens behind these crimes might indeed be deficient in logic they are far from stupid – in many cases the sole reason a youth has been delegated to commit said criminal act is because they are aware that, such is the disarray of the New Zealand legal system, there will be no serious reprimand even if they are apprehended.
The wife of one such Auckland dairy owner, who witnessed her husband being beaten by a group of teenage boys and girls trying to rob their family’s livelihood, has professed to a feeling of constant unsettlement and the inability to feel safe in her own home.
Imagine then, stunting the development of a group of adolescents who are only ever destined for a life of criminal activity anyway, in favour of the mental stability of the productive members of our collapsing society.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Cece Otty
Photography by San K Teetee