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National Conference Will Discuss Prison Reform

March 2006

National Conference Will Discuss Prison Reform

A National Conference is being held to discuss criminal justice policy as it relates to the sentencing, rehabilitation, imprisonment and reintegration of prisoners and ex-prisoners, and the impact of offending on victims.

The Conference, “Beyond Retribution – Advancing the Law and Order Debate,” will be held between the 12th and 14th May in Upper Hutt, said Kim Workman, National Director of Prison Fellowship. The conference brings together the country’s best thinkers on this issue, in what is expected to be a reasoned, rational and informed Conference on law and order issues. Members of the public are invited, and will take part in workshops and planning sessions.

“We expect to have a debate about criminal justice issues, based on evidence and research, not one-off criminal cases or distortions of the facts. We have within the speakers and presenters, political and community leaders who have the courage to exercise leadership in this area, and who have resisted the temptation to buy into popular, but failed, views.”

Three months in the planning, the Conference will be opened by the Minister of Corrections, and includes presentations by political and social commentators, criminal justice professionals, senior judiciary, political scientists, criminologists, community service providers, and senior public servants.

The speakers and presenters include political commentators such as Celia Lashlie, Greg Fortuin, and Dr Pita Sharples, to Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft, Chairman of the Parole Board, Judge David Carruthers, John Whitty of PARS, Professor John Pratt, Phil McCarthy of Corrections, and the authors of the Salvation Army report, Bonnie Robinson and Dr Leanne Smith.

An international authority on restorative justice, Dr Dan Van Ness, will attend from the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, Washington DC.

The Conference will address key issues in the crime and punishment debate, including:

• The impact of sentencing practice and legislation on imprisonment rates,

• The impact of mass incarceration on vulnerable communities,

• The role of community-based sentences;

• Safe alternatives to imprisonment;

• “What works” in Prison - new approaches to rehabilitation

• Models of Effective Prisoner Reintegration

• The role of the Community with Prisoners

Kim Workman said “We expect that the papers and contributions will be published, and will influence public thinking on these issues, and in turn, the formation of rational prison policy.”

Details of the Conference are available on Prison Fellowship’s website at www.pfnz.org.nz.


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