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

Urgent Bill Planned:
MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.

Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority’s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent...

The new legislation will be backdated to 1 July 2014, meaning the pay increase outlined in the latest determination will not be awarded. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news