Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Prisoners will lie to get earlier Parole Board Hearings

Prisoners will lie to get earlier Parole Board Hearings

“The proposal to reduce parole hearings for offenders who refuse to accept their guilt, or make little effort at rehabilitation, will encourage prisoners to lie”, says Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. He was commenting on the government’s plans to implement one of its post-election promises. “It’s a silly idea”.

“The government needs to do a consumer survey into the impact that sort of policy will have on prisoner behaviour. An informal survey carried out today with some ex-crims makes it clear what will happen. Firstly, prisoners who honestly believe they are innocent of a charge, will change their tune on entering prison in order to get an earlier parole board hearing. Secondly, those who don’t believe they need to attend a rehabilitation programme, will be knocking at the door of Corrections, demanding rehabilitation for the same reason.

This could have adverse consequences. First, it could discourage prisoners who genuinely believe they are innocent from pursuing an appeal, even though Clause 25 of the Bill of Rights Act makes it a breach to compel someone to confess guilt.

Secondly, Corrections are going to be inundated with prisoners demanding rehabilitation, when they are not resourced to do so. The Department of Corrections agrees that involuntary offenders can – and, more often than not, do – benefit from rehabilitation. The reason unwilling offenders are not offered rehabilitation, is because Corrections currently have to ration rehabilitation resources, and it suits them not to include recalcitrant offenders.

“There is a danger that this exercise will mask the real issues that should be considered, which will address both victim’s and offenders needs.

“We know that many victims find the Parole Board appearance traumatic, often because it brings back painful memories. Nevertheless, some victims feel personal pressure to attend and represent their views. In some cases, they have an unrealistic expectation of the impact their words will have on the Parole Board. ”

“However, in 90-95% of all Parole Board hearings, victims choose not to attend. Is it because they don’t feel the need to do so, or because they would find the experience too traumatic? At this stage, no one knows. Further victim research could help us understand how to make the Parole Board experience less daunting, so that victims are more willing to participate.”

“On occasions, the Parole Board has discussed with victims and offenders, the opportunity to take part in a restorative justice conference. When such a conference is agreed to, the outcome for both offenders and victims has usually been mutually beneficial.”

“The other major issue that needs to be tackled in advance of this legislation is the adequacy of the offender rehabilitation programme. While there are cases where offenders are reluctant to partake in rehabilitation programmes, the more common concern is that willing offenders can’t access prison rehabilitation programmes. Criminal lawyers, the judiciary and prisoners complain that rehabilitation programmes are heavily rationed. Sentencing judges and the Parole Board can give directions for a prisoner to undergo a course of rehabilitation, only to find that Corrections cannot provide it. In the worse cases, the unavailability of rehabilitation affects the offender’s chances of parole.”

“An independent review of the adequacy of the current rehabilitation programme should precede any legislative change

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news