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Smart on Crime ePub series - Issue No 1

Smart on Crime ePub series - Issue No 1 ‘Setting the Scene’ Now Available

This Smart on Crime ePub Series is Rethinking Crime and Punishment’s contribution to the public discussion and debate on criminal justice issues. It is intended that this information and discussion will contribute to a more effective crime and justice strategy in 2015 and beyond.

Issue #1 , ‘Setting the Scene’ is available online either as an ePub or pdf version by clicking here at http://www.rethinking.org.nz/Default.aspx?page=5347.

Hard copies of the issue are available by emailing office@rethinking.org.nz. When requesting a hard copy please consider a koha to help cover our costs by clicking here.

The series reflects the changing attitudes of New Zealanders away from the ‘tough vs soft’ debate of former years toward an approach which is ‘Smart’. Increasingly New Zealanders are looking for Smart on Crime policies: strategies, practices and processes which reduce not only the number of crime victims, but also the extent of social harm and the negative downstream consequences for victims, offenders, their families and whanau, and the wider community.

New Zealanders recognise that the criminal justice system is failing too many, costing too much, and helping too few. To effectively tackle these challenges, we must abandon heated rhetoric and explore policies based not on ideology, but on evidence. We must come together to forge a system that works for everyone. For this reason,Smart on Crime incorporates cost-effective, evidence-based solutions to address the worst problems in our system.

Issue #1 proposes a three pronged approach to criminal justice reform at three levels. The first level is to examine the operational effectiveness of the criminal justice system as it exists now, and the introduction of policies, actions, and strategies that have an early impact on reducing crime and social harm.

The second approach is to take a longer view, and develop strategies to reduce the drivers and causes of crime, over time, including the reduction of inequality and social deprivation.

The final and most daunting challenge is to do something that we have never done before; to have a nation-wide conversation about the sort of justice we want in New Zealand and how the justice system might better reflect the collective values and attitudes of a civilised nation. It is not sufficient to be a safe society if in doing so we behave in an unjust way.

Issue #2 will be out in a few weeks. Titled “What can I do to change your mind?” - Changing public attitudes towards crime and punishment”, it examines how our attitudes and values toward crime and punishment are formed, and the difficulty we all experience in changing our views about the best way of reducing crime and social harm. It proposes ways in which the public, policy makers, politicians and ‘influencing stakeholders’ can more effectively facilitate discussions and debate which lead to a shift away from entrenched attitudes and values, toward a more effective criminal justice system.

It is very likely that debate and discussion will increase both in range and intensity, as the 2014 General Election approaches. Rethinking Crime and Punishment has launched its Smart on Crime blog at http://blog.rethinking.org.nz/ so that as issues arise in the media, they can be discussed in a timely way as part of the political policy process. Share it with your friends, and start a discussion about the kind of justice system we want to see in 2015 and beyond.

Noho ora mai


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