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

 


Offender Rehabilitation Should Occur Outside Prison

Offender Rehabilitation Should Occur Outside Prison

27th June 2014

Rethinking Crime and Punishment’s Kim Workman, and Sensible Sentencing Trust’s Garth McVicar, have finally found common ground – both agree that prison is not an ideal place to rehabilitate offenders.

Kim Workman says, “I can only recall a couple of occasions in the last eight years when Garth and I haveagreed on an issue – and when that happens it usually suggests there is wide public support for the view. Sure enough, a recent Ministry of Justice survey showed that the public were twice as likely to favour community based rehabilitation over rehabilitation programmes in prison. In the same survey only 5% agreed that prisons acted as a deterrent.”

McVicar and Workman have both responded favourably to Justspeak’s report ‘Unlocking Prisons’,which devotes a chapter on whether rehabilitation should be community –based or in prisons. The report acknowledges the efforts of Corrections to provide prison-based rehabilitation but comes to an evidence-based conclusion that there needs to be a greater investment in community based rehabilitation, with offenders being referred for meaningful rehabilitation earlier in their offending career. Community rehabilitation is a fraction of the cost and more effective, especially if provided when the offender is more likely to respond to treatment.”

Kim Workman comments, “Politicians and policy advisers need to visit their local District Courts, and talk to those offenders who engage in a constant cycle of low-level offending. About 80% of them have significant drug and alcohol dependency, and half that number have diagnosable mental health issues. Many of them at that stage, are motivated to undergo rehabilitation, but cannot access community based treatment. The judiciary know that prison is not in their best interests, but are hampered by the lack of community based treatment facilities. These offenders go without treatment and re-offend, until they reach a point where prison is the only response available to the Judge.”

“The Hon Anne Tolley, on the same day of the ‘Unlocking Prisons’ report, issued a media release, pointing out that there has been a 1500 per cent increase in places on drug and alcohol treatment programmes for prisoners since 2008. That is true, but the availability of residential drug treatment places in the community has remained static over that period. We now have a situation where the judiciary are more likely to sentence an offender to prison, because it is the only place where they can receive adequate drug and alcohol treatment.”

“I recall being chastised by the Hon Damien O’Connor in 2008, then Minister of Corrections for urging greater cooperation between Corrections and the Health Sector over the lack of community treatment services. It was Damien who started the push to develop drug treatment programmes in prison, and even then there was a stark imbalance between prison and community based treatment.

“We have now reached a tipping point. It is a classic ‘Field of Dreams’ scenario – “create the treatment units, and the Judges will refer”. In the same period we have created only two Drug Courts – probably because there are so few community treatment places to which offenders can receive help.”

The outcome of all this is that we are criminalising medical conditions. As criminologist Loic Waquant puts it, “for people who cannot afford rehabilitative treatment, the prison operates as a judicial garbage disposal into which the human refuse of the market society are thrown”.

References:
Justspeak “Unlocking Prisons – How we can Improve New Zealand’s Prison System’ www.justspeak.org.nz
Anne Tolley: Media Release: Re-imprisonment rate shows significant decline. 24 June 2014

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

#Kexit: Prime Minister John Key Announces Resignation

Prime Minister John Key has announced that he’s resigning as Prime Minister in seven days’ time. He made the unexpected announcement at a 12.45 press conference at Parliament, called with less than an hour’s notice.

“It has been an enormous privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand, and these last eight years have been an incredible experience. Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love...“ More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

 

Q+A: Labour's Michael Wood Wins Mt Roskill

Labour’s Michael Wood, who last night won a 6,000 vote majority in the Mt Roskill by-election, says the reason for the win was simple, clear messaging... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Anne Tolley’s Callous Folly

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

ALSO:

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news