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New Zealand's Youth Justice Transformation: Lessons for the United States

New Zealand is a leader in the use of restorative justice practices in their youth justice system. The country dramatically downsized their youth justice system through groundbreaking legislation which incorporated rehabilitation as the system's fundamental focus. Today over 75% of youth who come in contact with the police are handled through police warnings or diversion.

We spent time analyzing their justice transformation process -- including their successes and challenges -- and have translated these findings into important lessons for the U.S. The lessons include:

  • the need to legislate limits around arrest and charging
  • diverting as many youth as possible
  • using restorative justice processes for handling youth with more serious cases
  • and placing those most harmed by the system must at the forefront of changing it.

Read the executive summary of New Zealand's Youth Justice Transformation: Lessons for the United States.

Read the full report of New Zealand's Youth Justice Transformation: Lessons for the United States.