Overhaul of criminal justice system on its way, Andrew Little announces

Source: 1News

The Government is overhauling the criminal justice system, announcing a raft of new changes this morning.

There'll be a "comprehensive system change" as well as new specialist courts for dealing with specific offending, and changing "the environment in which justice is administered".

"The old ways have failed us," Justice Minister Andrew Little said in a statement this morning.

"They have resulted in too little rehabilitation and therefore more crime, while not doing enough to support victims."

The changes are announced alongside two new reports released this morning.

Chief Victims Advisor Dr Kim McGregor, who wrote one of the reports, says victims often say they have negative experiences in the justice system - with some recommending others shouldn't report crimes because of their own poor treatment.

"This should make everyone stand up and take notice," she said in a statement this morning.

"I believe this amounts to a growing crisis of confidence in our justice system from a victim's perspective. We must listen to victims of crime, especially within the justice reform process."

Mr Little says the "old ways" don't do enough to support victims and result in too little rehabilitation.

"Thirty years of locking more people up for longer has not changed reoffending rates nor made communities safer."

Restricted Area Barbed Fence Closeup Photo in Bluish Color Grading. generic jail crime

He says the Government has already made several commitments as a "first step" in response to the reports' recommendations.

  • Ensuring the environment in which justice is administered is safe and effective for victims, offenders, and all participants – with a further announcement on this to be made in coming days.
  • Comprehensive system change over time that treats victims with respect and dignity, treats offenders more effectively in order to reduce offending, and makes the system more responsive to community expectations of accountability and harm prevention.
  • Make the pilot Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) courts in Auckland and Waitakere permanent immediately, and to immediately fund a new AODT court in Hamilton because of the impact these courts have on reducing offending.
  • The rollout of other therapeutic and specialist courts over time.
  • Working with Māori on decision-making to improve outcomes across the justice system.
  • Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor were published today.