Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


From Outlaw to Citizen

From Outlaw to Citizen



A prisoner coming out of jail and making a successful transition over time towards becoming law-abiding citizen must overcome major difficulties. Matthew, a long-term prisoner, said he had not been prepared for the shock of going back to civilian life. Like Rip Van Winkle, he found the world outside prison had changed beyond recognition. He had not used Eftpos, credit cards, cell phones or computers and felt incompetent to deal with everyday situations, such as getting onto a bus going in the right direction. He had had little practice in turning off lights and his gas stove. As with all the respondents in this study, he was well aware of the intense public distrust of offenders. Ironically, however, offenders are highly dependent on public tolerance and acceptance if they are to desist from re-offending.


Dr Anne Opie, an independent researcher and former social worker, interviewed recently released ex-prisoners over a period of time about their experiences of the challenges associated with attempting to move back into to civilian life. Her findings are published by Dunmore Publishing in From Outlaw to Citizen: Making the Transition from Prison in New Zealand.


“There are myriad and shocking historical and present failures in our prison systems to help those leaving prison to resettle into communities and move away from re-offending.” says Anne Opie.


More than half of the respondents were released into a city they had never lived in before. Few had either family or friends on whom they could rely. Nearly all left prison in the clothes in which they had been admitted, with one saying he left prison during the winter wearing jeans, a tee-shirt and thongs. Others said their clothes had barely fitted them. Prisoners are meant to organize their accommodation prior to their release. This was typically very difficult to do and three left prison without having a place to live. Unsurprisingly, several considered that returning to prison might be an easier option that trying to manage civilian life, their experiences replicating findings in recent international literature about how hard it is for released prisoners to cope with the stresses of release and, in the process avoid re-offending.


Anne Opie’s research showed that the respondents spoke very highly of the non governmental organizations (NGOs) who worked with and supported them after their release. They helped them find accommodation manage finances and, in some instances, employment, because the staff had the necessary detailed knowledge of their community and of people with connections to help released prisoners. Respondents described how staff and volunteers in these agencies treated them as human beings, offering hope and help in planning and beginning to work towards a constructive future.


In contrast, the respondents were highly critical of the Community Probation Service’s (CPS) very restricted role. Staff asked only about respondents’ compliance with their conditions of parole. They were not mandated to ask about and help offenders with their very real everyday problems. Nor were they interested in the positive ways in which respondents were attempting to re-build their lives and cease to re-offend.


Anne Opie said, “This study indicates that Corrections and the CPS have been operating on the basis of a very limited account of what helps to assist offenders move towards being able to live more constructive lives. There are many social factors that contribute to people re-offending. Corrections has apparently been unaware of significant initiatives in other countries focused on what helps people desist from re-offending and begin to contribute, as were some respondents, to the society to which they belong.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

With Hunters & Collectors: The Rolling Stones Announce New Auckland Date

It’s the news New Zealand has been waiting for. The Rolling Stones today confirmed the rescheduled dates and venues for both the Australian and New Zealand legs of their highly anticipated ’14 On Fire’ tour. Now, Frontier Touring is also delighted ... More>>

ALSO:

Flying Things: Conchords, Pretties Help BATS Fly Home

The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords. More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Zoo’s Own Wētā Workshop Produces Rare Giants For Release

Following unprecedented breeding and rearing success, Auckland Zoo is today releasing 150 of New Zealand’s largest giant wētā, the wētā punga, onto pest-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. A further 150 will be released onto Tiritiri Matangi next month. More>>

Girls On Film: Divergent Hits The Big Screen

n January, Catching Fire (the second film in the Hunger Games series) not only became the biggest US box office success of 2013 : it also became the first film starring a female actor (ie. Jennifer Lawrence) to top the annual domestic earnings chart since The Exorcist, 40 years ago. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: No Travel Sanctions For Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

On the same day that New Zealand announced travel sanctions against selected Russians, a Russian billionaire’s superyacht berthed in Wellington Harbour. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: UC Researchers Believe Robots Can Persuade People To Conform

A team of University of Canterbury (UC) researchers and scientists believe robots can persuade people to conform through group pressure... ``Our results showed that robots can induce conformity but to a significantly lesser degree than humans." More>>

NZ On Air: Local Content Holds Steady At 32% Of Television Schedules

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. More>>

Arts Fest: 2014 New Zealand Festival A Spectacular Celebration

The New Zealand Festival welcomed the world to Wellington over 24 days (21 Feb – 16 Mar) of arts events across the city. “[current figures show] slight increase on the 110,000 tickets issued in 2012. It’s a great result.” More>>

Opera: Happy 70th Birthday Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Our first lady of song who “feels more like at 15 year old” will celebrate her significant birthday on stage at Covent Garden tomorrow night (Friday morning NZT), performing in the Royal Opera House’s production of La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) as La Duchess de Crackentorp. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news