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

 


Prisoners Compensation Bill Legally and Morally Flawed

Prisoners Compensation Bill Legally and Morally Flawed

“The Prisoners and Victims Claims (Continuation and Reform) Bill has no place in the legislative agenda of a government committed to the reduction of c rime, and reform of the prison system” Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, told the Justice and Electoral Select Committee. The legislation will make permanent earlier legislation which allowed victims of crime to seek a share of compensation received by prisoners.

“The political and public environment that supported the introduction the original Prisoners and Victims Claims Act in 2005, brought with it a number of unforeseen and negative consequences. This Bill which perpetuates that negative environment is being introduced at an entirely time. The efforts of government to reduce crime and reoffending are bearing fruit. We understand what needs to happen within prisons, to maintain officer and prisoner safety, and reduce the reoffending of released prisoners.

This legislation is seriously flawed from a human rights perspective, in that it breaches the Victim Rights Act 2002, which required under Section 7 that all victims be treated with courtesy, compassion and dignity. This legislation denies victims’ rights to prisoners that have been abused and violated by members of the state. The pre-assumption that victims of State abuse are not entitled to be treated as victims, on the grounds that they happen to be prisoners, is inconsistent with the government’s own commitment to a victim-centric criminal justice system.

The original Act, and this amendment, sends out four clear messages:

Message One: Going to prison is no longer sufficient punishment. Punishment will take on new and imaginative forms. Offenders, by reason of their status, are no longer entitled to be treated with respect or decency; nor do they to have the same rights as other citizens who are victims of state brutality and violence.

Message Two: If you are a prison officer, you will be pleased to know that the state does not regard prisoners as fully human. If you ill-treat or brutalise them, the state will make it very difficult for them to complain, or to seek compensation.

Message Three: If you are a prisoner, don’t waste your time complaining against ill treatment. You are not valued, and your complaint is unlikely to be seriously considered. If you are successful, you will not actually get all the compensation to which you are entitled. If you want justice, look for other ways of getting it. Like payback.

Message Four: If you are the victim of a crime, realise that the state does not have sufficient regard for your rights and needs of victims to compensate you in your own right. However, you are free to apply for compensation which has been taken from other victims of crime i.e. blood money” to meet your needs.

Essential to the new strategy, is a public commitment to the idea that offenders and victims have basic human rights that must be protected. The idea that every time you acknowledge the human rights of offenders, and observe due process in their treatment, you take something of value away from victims, is both morally flawed and fatuous. What is instead required is a government sincerely committed to address both the rights and needs of victims, and to preserve the human rights of all those affected by the criminal justice system.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

CPAG: Government Spends Over $100K Pursuing Beneficiary

For the past fifteen years, Kathryn, now in her fifties and living alone with chronic ill health on a benefit, has been challenging the decision by the MSD that she has to pay back $117,000. She has no assets or savings and cannot afford to pay for fresh food or therapy that would improve her health. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: National’s Cuts Shave $100K Off KiwiSaver By Retirement

New analysis shows National’s constant cuts to KiwiSaver will reduce the average worker’s retirement savings by $100,000 over their working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says... Since coming to office it has made five separate cuts to the scheme." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Transport Operators Switch From SuperGold To AT HOP Cards

Seniors using Auckland’s public transport will need to use their AT HOP cards from today but Auckland Transport has requested its operators to show understanding for those customers yet to complete the switch from SuperGold cards. More>>

ALSO:

Crime Stats: Burglary Up 11.9%

“While burglary rates are still below that of recent years, there has been an increase of more than 10 per cent over the past 12 months, which is of concern to Police and something we are determined to tackle,” says Police Commissioner Mike Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Help: Lifeline Aotearoa Fighting For Survival

Lifeline Aotearoa has announced it only has enough money to run for one more year. By 30 June 2017, all available sustainability reserves and funds from a new mortgage on its Auckland property will be exhausted. More>>

ALSO:

Overseas Investment: Auditor-General To Examine OIO

The Auditor-General is to examine how the Overseas Investment Office collects and manages information following a request from the parliament's finance and expenditure committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English Living In Denial

The working poor have been a direct byproduct of the economic policies in vogue for the past 30 years or more, all over the Western world... That anger was evident in the Brexit vote, and it underlies the support for Donald Trump in the United States. More>>

ALSO:

Final Reading Of Parental Leave Bill: Families With New Babies Victims Of Veto

“For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because the National Government has used its veto – an extreme measure against families,” says the Bill’s sponsor, Labour MP Sue Moroney. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news