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Budget good news for community focussed crime reduction

Budget good news for community focussed crime reduction

“Budget funding decisions in the crime and justice area could herald a new phase in the development of community-led crime reduction”, says Kim Workman, spokesperson for Rethinking Crime and Punishment.

Social Integration of Prisoners

“The Chief Executive of Corrections, Ray Smith is leading a shift toward a community-led, department supported, approach to prisoner reintegration. The $10m investment into the social integration of prisoners is a major investment in a long neglected area. This new policy direction recognises that most offenders face significant social adaptation issues, which can include family and community stigmatization and ostracism, and a negative impact on their ability to find jobs or housing, return to formal education or build or re-build individual and social capital. Unless they receive help to face these issues, they frequently become caught up in a cycle of failed social integration, reoffending, reconviction and social rejection.

Community providers will now be able to play an important role in not only in helping prisoners, but in helping communities and businesses understand and accept the importance of ensuring the successful reintegration of offenders, in participating in that that process, and playing an active role in the reintegration of offenders.

If we want to achieve safer communities, then we need socially integrated citizens. The role for those involved in prisoner reintegration is therefore not only about reducing reoffending. It is equally important to restore whānau and community peace, and ensure that former offenders can access the same social goods and resources as other law abiding members of the community.

Restorative Justice
The $4.4m increase in funding for restorative justice conferencing, is another welcome measure, and not only because it reduces offending. Restorative justice is also a community activity, and creating safe communities requires active citizen involvement. It calls for a reengagement of citizens in the process of determining shared norms, holding one another accountable to those norms and determining how best to resolve breaches of the norms in a way which does not increase risk in the community. Community based restorative justice as one of the means of achieving community well-being, which should be the ultimate goal in reducing crime.

ends

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