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Rethinking Calls for Increase in Prison Family Days

Rethinking Calls for Increase in Prison Family Days

Prison Unit Manager’s performance should include criteria which measure the extent to which they organise reintegrative activities for prisoners, says Kim Workman. He was responding to an article in theSunday Star Times, in which a High Security Prisoner in Paremoremo’s notorious D Block, complained that sex offenders in the Piriti unit held a family day, which included barbeque steaks.http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/9577037/Paedophiles-life-of-luxury-angers

“High security prisoners present too much risk to be eligible for family days. The real issue is that although there are policies in place to organise family and whanau days, they very rarely happen. Family days make a really positive contribution to the life of the prison, the prisoners and their family and whanau. Children get the chance to see their father or mother in a different light – playing sports, singing or entertaining, and interacting with their own family and the wider group. It can make a major contribution to family relationships, and provide an opportunity to resolve family issues.”

“This is the sort of activity that can be organised by prison volunteers, and the prisoners themselves, with prison officer oversight. Often, food can be contributed by community organisations. Encouraging community and volunteer participation, can provide added social value, at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

“We need to remind ourselves that punishing prisoners constantly through harsh treatment and Spartan conditions, does nothing to reduce reoffending. On the other hand, preparing the way for release by providing increased contact with family and whanau, is known to promote pro-social behaviour.”


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