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NZ needs more crime prevention not more prisons

NZ needs more crime prevention not more prisons


New Zealand needs more initiatives aimed at reducing our prison population, Green Party justice spokesperson David Clendon said today.

Today JustSpeak a non-partisan network wanting to change New Zealand’s criminal justice system released a report on how they consider New Zealand’s prison system can be improved. The report is entitled Unlocking Prisons: ‘How we can improve New Zealand’s prison system’.

“International experience in the criminal justice area shows that investing in drug and alcohol treatment, properly funded mental health services and, properly resourced rehabilitation and reintegration services will deliver safer communities for all of us,” said Mr Clendon.

“Instead successive governments have spent enormous sums of money building more prisons to incarcerate more New Zealanders under the guise of so-called ‘tough on crime’ initiatives.

“New Zealand does not want to go down the same route as the United States which locks up around one in every hundred of its citizens.

“We need instead to have a debate about how to keep our communities safe and how to move more resources towards preventing crime rather than building prisons for private companies to operate and profit from.

“As JustSpeak note in their report many of those sentenced to prison go on to reoffend once released.

“Sending more and more people to prison won’t necessarily make us any safer in the long term,” Mr Clendon said.

“The reoffending rate for those sentenced to home detention is actually far lower than for those sentenced to prison, according to this report.

“As the evidence in Just Speaks report shows, there are real advantages for the offender, their community and New Zealand as a whole in regarding prison as the last possible resort.

“Organisations and programmes that offer genuine paths to preventing crime and reoffending are being starved for money and other resources.

“New Zealand needs to look at shifting resources away from building more and more prisons into crime prevention strategies.

“This reinvestment will make communities safer and divert people away from offending and support them to be contributing members of society,” Mr Clendon said.

Link to JustSpeak:
http://justspeak.org.nz/

ends

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