Sutherland, Alison
June 2011
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jun2011, Issue 37, p51
Academic Journal
The purpose of this research, conducted with a sample of young people in three New Zealand youth justice residential facilities, was to explore the compulsory school experience as perceived by young people who went on to commit serious criminal offences. By listening to their stories I hoped to identify the risk factors, if any, that schools contribute to the developmental pathways towards criminal offending. A significant finding was that although the school experience does not cause a young person to commit crimes, the cumulative effect of negative school experiences can result in a student’s alienation from the education system, aggravating pre-existing risk factors that lead a vulnerable person towards chronic criminal offending. What also emerged was the unique opportunity that schools provide to interrupt the pathway to youth offending through a process of early identification and timely intervention.


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