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Church Partnership Promotes Justice Reform

Media Release

Embargoed until 10.0pm on Monday, 25th September


Church Partnership Promotes Justice Reform

The Salvation Army and Prison Fellowship New Zealand, have formed a three-year partnership to run a justice reform campaign called “ ‘Rethinking Crime and Punishment’ .

“Our vision is that the ‘Rethinking Crime and Punishment’ campaign will lead to a safer New Zealand where people who offend face their crime, but are also given the chance to rehabilitate and be restored as participating members of the wider New Zealand community”, said spokesperson Kim Workman.

“We have a record prison population but do not feel protected from crime. Prison has apparently uncritical support from some sections of the media and public, yet large numbers of prisoners re-offend. Politicians view it as a popular policy response, despite its enormous financial and social cost.”

“Whatever your view of prison, we think there is a need for fresh thinking, new ideas and a much wider public debate. This project aims to facilitate this debate – to raise the level of discussion about prison and its alternatives. It will support a process to increase public understanding of and involvement in the criminal justice system and inject fresh thinking into the public arena. We want this discussion to span the political, socio-economic and ethnic spectrum -everyone needs to have a say. It is time that the New Zealand public took a more active role in the formation of penal policy. “

The leaders of this national campaign are Kim Workman and Major Campbell Roberts. Mr Workman has been released from day to day operational responsibilities in Prison Fellowship to manage the project.

Major Campbell Roberts explained that one of the aims of the project is to inform the public of the basic facts and encourage debate and discussion about the nature of crime and punishment. “Information must be targeted at a wide range of groups, including politicians, journalists, Maori and Pacific peoples, churchgoers, civic leaders, trade union members, broadcasters, the judiciary and many other lay and professional groups. The information should be conveyed through websites, publications, information packs and conferences.”

“One of our aims is to increase awareness of the alternatives to prison, and examine the most effective use of prison. We propose to support projects which investigate and promote alternatives to prison such as restorative justice and other community penalties through campaigns, conferences and seminars, as well as through detailed research and reports. “

The campaign has received wide support from churches, criminal justice professionals, and the community. A reference group has been formed to oversee the project, led by Sir Paul Reeves. Other members of the Group are:

Commissioner Garth McKenzie, Salvation Army
Judge Stan Thorburn, Deputy Chairperson, Prison Fellowship New Zealand
Michel Smith, Chief Executive Officer, CARITAS, (Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development)
Sam Chapman, Te Houhanga Rongo
Mel Smith, retired Ombudsman and former Deputy Secretary for Justice
Greg Fleming, Trustee, Caleb No 2 Trust
Celia Lashlie, Social Commentator
Revd Dr Anthony Dancer, Anglican Social Justice Commissioner
Prof Warren Brookbanks, Auckland University
Glyn Carpenter, Vision NZ

ENDS

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