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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/interventions/youth-court/detaining-17-year-old-rangatahi-in-a-youth-unit-of-a-prison/
Printed: 20/10/2019
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Last updated: 01/07/2019

Detaining 17-year-old rangatahi in a youth unit of a prison

Oranga Tamariki and the Department of Corrections can make a joint application to the Youth Court to detain a 17-year-old rangatahi in a youth unit of a prison to ensure the safety of any rangatahi in Oranga Tamariki custody.

What the joint application is

The joint application asks the Youth Court to detain a rangatahi aged 17 years in a Corrections youth unit within a prison if the court is satisfied that:

  • the order is necessary to ensure the safety of any rangatahi who is in the custody of the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki
  • a youth unit within a prison is available for the rangatahi to stay in
  • all other options available to Oranga Tamariki to safely manage the rangatahi have not been successful.

Restrictions on power of court to order child or young person to be detained in custody – section 239(2A) of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

This only applies to 17 year olds. 17 year olds are considered young people under the Act and relevant principles apply.

When a joint application can be made

A joint application can be made during the period of time where a rangatahi aged 17 years has been arrested and is waiting for their first appearance in the Youth Court, or while they are detained in an Oranga Tamariki residence pending hearing, if their behaviour poses significant risk to themselves, or to other rangatahi in the chief executive’s custody and it cannot be safely managed within a youth justice residence.

The youth justice social worker should also consider preparing a joint agreement if the rangatahi is to have their charges dealt with under the adult jurisdiction (for example if they have committed Schedule 1A offences which are transferred to the adult courts).

Remand of defendants – section 175(1A) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011

Who makes the application

The application is made by the chief executives of Oranga Tamariki and the Department of Corrections, or their delegates.

If the rangatahi is in a youth justice residence:

  • the case leader identifies if the rangatahi meets the criteria for detention in a youth unit of a prison and ensures the rangatahi and their family/whānau understand why Oranga Tamariki intends to apply for the transfer and what the process is
  • the youth justice social worker consults with Corrections and coordinates the rest of the process.

If the rangatahi is arrested, the Police oppose bail and the rangatahi is known to Oranga Tamariki, the youth justice social worker has the primary responsibility for the process. (If the rangatahi was arrested after hours, the intake social worker at the national contact centre reviews the CYRAS record for the rangatahi, identifies if they meet the criteria for detention in a youth unit of a prison and informs the local site of evidence to consider.)

How to do it