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Tent Cities Don't Work

Tent City's Don't Work – says Rethinking Crime and Punishment

"Garth McVicar's claim that the Tent City he visited in Arizona reduces criminal offending by 16% is wrong – and he knows it", says Kim Workman, Project Leader of the Rethinking Crime and Punishment Project "The Sensible Sentencing Trust are deliberately misleading New Zealanders, in an attempt to generate a climate of fear, and support for extreme retribution."

Mr Workman was commenting on a report in the Daily Post, (28 March 28), in which Garth McVicar had promoted the establishment of chain gangs and tent cities.

"A 1998 Arizona State University study tracked 4,800 released Maricopa County inmates and showed no evidence that harsh treatment reduced recidivism. Arpaio discounted this study as false and continues to claim that his jail program has reduced crime in the valley. No one actually knows with any certainty what the recidivism rate is – including Garth McVicar."

"He has also claimed that the system reduces prisoners in the system Maricopa County, where the tent city is located, has the third largest county jail population in the United States, and it increases every year."

"Arizona has an imprisonment rate of 808 prisoners per 100,000 population – higher than the national average, and more than four times higher than New Zealand's 195 per 100,000."

"High imprisonment rates might be acceptable if they succeeded in reducing the crime rate. That hasn't happened either. Arizona has the 8th highest homicide rate in the US. The rate is 7.5 per 100,000 compared to 2.4 per 100,000 in New Zealand."

"Arizona's robbery rate is 147.7 per 100,000 compared to 67.6 per 100,000 in New Zealand. The Arizona crime rate is extremely high."

"Why would New Zealand want to adopt a system that fails to deter offenders, increases the number of people in our prisons, and contributes to a horrendously high crime rate?"

Kim Workman

Project Leader

Rethinking Crime and Punishment



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