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

Gordon Campbell: On The Aftermath Of The Greenwald/Snowden Revelations

The credibility issues have come down to two main ones:

1 The email This has to do with whether Key knowingly agreed to use our immigration rules as a tool to ensnare and ultimately extradite Kim Dotcom, and do so largely at the behest of Hollywood’s leading corporates and their best friend in the White House, vice-President Joseph Biden. Some of the debate in the last few days has turned on the reliability of a Warners email that seems to set out this plan in black and white. IMO, the email is just the icing on the cake...

2. Mass surveillance Earlier to day I was going to try to explain the difference between what Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald were talking about (ie mass surveillance via the the cable-accessing SPEARGUN programme and the Xkeyscore analytical programme) and what Key has chosen to talk about instead in order to deliberately distract and confuse the public. Then I found that Keith Ng had not only beaten me to it, but had done so with beautiful lucidity. More>>

Out-Link - "Project SPEARGUN underway" • OnPoint • Public Address

 
 

Parliament Today:

Pre-Election Chartering: Four New Partnership Schools To Open

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced the Government has signed contracts to open four new Partnership Schools in 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf 50 Out Now - The Election Issue: Loss Leaders

Gordon Campbell: A third term requires a mature decision, with eyes wide open. It calls for a conscious vote of confidence… Without trying hard here are about 19 reasons, in no particular order, for not ticking ‘party vote’ National. More>>

ALSO:

Not-Especially New Plans: All Prisons To Become Working Prisons Under National

All public prisons in New Zealand will become full working prisons by 2017, and ex-prisoners will receive post-release drug addiction treatment if National is returned to government, says Corrections Spokesperson Anne Tolley. More>>

ALSO:

Māngere: "False Claim Of Matai Title" - Labour

National must explain why its candidate for Māngere Misa Fia Turner appears to be using a Matai title she is not entitled to, Labour’s MP for Māngere and Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. A Matai title is a legally-recognised ... More>>

ALSO:

CPAG Report: No New Zealand Child Should Grow Up In Poverty

Child Poverty Action Group's flagship policy publication Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities for Policy calls for cross party political agreement to underpin an action plan to eliminate child poverty in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On National’s Phantom Tax Cut Package

Hmmm. So National’s tax cuts package turns out to be one of those television advertisements that screams a headline promise – perfect skin! a youth tonic that works! – while in very small print there’s an out clause: special conditions may apply. More>>

ALSO:

Water: New Marine Reserves On West Coast Opened

Five new marine reserves were officially opened by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith on the West Coast of the South Island to protect a range of marine ecosystems for conservation, science and recreation. More>>

ALSO:

Perception: Study Looks At Trustworthiness And Support Of Politicians

A University of Canterbury marketing study has looked at what impact the Thatcher Effect has on perceptions of trustworthiness and liking of New Zealand politicians leading up to the 2014 general election. More>>

ALSO:

History Lessons: Jamie Whyte At ACT Campaign Opening

It is nearly 20 years since the ACT party was born. Many people no longer remember why it was named ACT. They may imagine that it was on account of our determination to actually do things in parliament rather than simply occupy the seats and collect the salaries. That’s true but it isn’t the right answer... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news