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

 

Gordon Campbell: The PM’s Hair-Pulling Power Trip

There have been striking differences between (a) the account of the waitress involved in the hair-pulling incidents, and (b) the account being given by Prime Minister John Key. The version by the waitress is available here and is recommended to anyone yet to read it. By her account, there were multiple instances of hair-pulling and these persisted and persisted long after she had made her annoyance clear to Key – who had also been advised by his wife, and by other café staff that the behavior was evidently not being welcomed. More>>

ALSO:

War: What’s To Commemorate?

Gordon Campbell in Werewolf: Is there anything that can be validly commemorated on this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli? Beyond, that is, a fleeting sense of empathy with the thousands of soldiers killed or wounded on April 25 1915 and in the months thereafter, until the whole thing was finally called off in December 1915. More>>

MORE IN WEREWOLF:

ALSO:

Peter Ellis Case: Minister Declines Request For Commission Of Inquiry

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that an inquiry cannot be used to determine the liability of any person. More>>

Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Govt Breaks Free Doctors Visit Promise To Kids

Documents obtained by the Green Party show that the Government decided to fund only 90 percent of doctors’ visits for children suffering from an injury in an attempt trim the cost of the so-called “free” visits. More>>

ALSO:

Other Wars: Extension Of NZDF Commitment In Afghanistan

The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors and support staff to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Afghanistan has been extended out to December 2016, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Auckland Property Prices Increasing "Too Rapidly"

John Key accepted that Auckland property prices 'are going up too rapidly” in a press conference held today in Wellington, however he said that this is not anything new. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: ANZAC PMs Concerned About ISIL Bringing The War Home

Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Abbott spoke of the bond formed between Australia and New Zealand in the “baptism of fire” of Gallipoli. Abbott stated that New Zealand and Australia’s values and interests are linked, and this is reflected in the joint operation in Iraq which will begin shortly. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news