Punanga Tauturu coordinator Rebeka Buchanan was commenting on the imprisonment of a 16-year-old boy convicted of 32 charges. She’d seen a couple of such cases, she said.
Buchanan said families become dysfunctional and children tend to do things their own way, hence committing crimes.
“It has become like a culture, if you are born and lived in New Zealand or Australia all your life and you come here, to the island, it not easy, it’s become an adapting issue.
“Not having a family or friend your familiar with and you end up hanging out with random people.”
Read more on: Troubled teen sent to jail
Buchanan said prison was never a solution for teenagers, so it was important to tackle the problem early, from their first offence. Families should consult a specialist with the skills to deal with teenagers.
She gave the example of one teen client who was moody and always angry; she had to continue counselling him until she found a way to address what he was facing.
Early intervention was important, and giving them some direction.
Buchanan said: “I am glad with the what Judge took into consideration for this 16-year old. We must provide help to prevent him making another mistake, to make sure he doesn’t go down that road again.”