A case for locking up the parents, too

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

What about the bloody parents?

Alf was driven to ask that question on learning from the NZ Herald that –

A 15-year-old girl has been sent to a youth justice facility after being convicted of drink-driving three times – twice when she was 14 and pregnant.

The girl was appearing in the Whangarei Youth Court for a review of an earlier sentence and to be sentenced on charges of driving with excess blood alcohol and driving while unlicensed.

In June, she was sentenced to community-based supervision on two charges of driving with excess breath alcohol, four burglaries, one aggravated robbery, resisting police, driving while unlicensed and giving false details to police.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was caught drink-driving twice in just over a week in January while she was 14 and pregnant.

It seems she had sunk more than a few scuttles of suds.

At the time, the girl recorded levels of 828mcg and 766mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, compared with the legal limit for motorists under 20 of 150mcg.

The girl gave birth in May – the child is in care, Alf is grateful to learn, although the report does not tell us what sort of care.

Then, in August, the girl was caught driving with excess blood alcohol.

Youth Court Judge Tim Druce was bang on when he said she had shown she was unable to respond to the community-based sentence without reoffending.

He sent her to a youth justice facility in the South Island for three months, but (much too lenient for Alf’s liking) said she could be released in two months if she co-operated and complied with the conditions of her care.

He also ordered the girl to undertake six months of supervision after she is released.

A bleating defence lawyer said other sentencing options were open to the court, and confining the girl in the South Island would take her too far away from her family and child. She did not want to go.

What family?

None that has shown any proper parental guidance, so far as Alf can tell.

The delinquent child has been in state care.

Child, Youth and Family officials had earlier said the girl was out of control after she had been in CYF custody from February until May.
The girl had been living in a secure CYF residential facility, where she received ongoing counselling and support to deal with alcohol and drug abuse.

It’s a disgraceful case of family neglect and a bad upbringing.

In cases like this, Alf contends, there is a serious argument in favour of locking up the delinquent parents too.

Or sterilising them so they don’t spawn more criminals.

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