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 John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news