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

More Evidence - Scoop Press Conference Recordings:
PM's Post-Cab Presser 8/8/11
"at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ..."

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

Goff: Director’s Letter Contradicts Key’s Claims

At yesterday’s media standup, when asked on the topic John Key said ‘I wasn’t told’...
“In a letter dated November 2011 former SIS director Warren Tucker states three times that ‘in accordance with the usual practice of keeping the minister informed’ the Prime Minister had been told. More>>


 

Parliament Today:

Schools, PPTA Sign Up: Primary Teachers And Principals Vote Down Govt Plan

Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Usual Round Of Mud Slinging And Name-Calling

This week gave an interesting example of how hard it is to untangle the reality from the slanging matches. The issue that emerged early this week could hardly be more important. Does the government intend to cut spending in health, education and on the environment if re-elected, or not? More>>

Earlier:

Electionresults.co.nz: National and NZ First Rise in Roy Morgan Poll

National has bounced back in the latest Roy Morgan Poll but the big winner has been New Zealand First who rise to their highest level of support since September 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news