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Prisoner advocates endorse petition against SST

Prisoner advocates endorse petition against Sensible Sentencing Trust

Prisoner advocacy organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa slams the Sensible Sentencing Trust, for its founder Garth McVicar’s recent comments congratulating the New Zealand Police after killing a man in Auckland last week.

After McVicar took to Facebook, posting “One less to clog the prisons! Congratulations to the New Zealand Police…,” a petition was started on ActionStation, calling on the Independent Charities Registration Board to strip the Sensible Sentencing Trust of its charity status.

“There’s nothing charitable about anything the Sensible Sentencing Trust does,” says PAPA spokeswoman Emilie Rākete. “It’s nothing but a lobby group that calls for pointless, bloodthirsty tough-on-crime policies that do nothing to solve violence in New Zealand society.”

According to Rākete, prisons have become increasingly overcrowded after the introduction of the Bail Amendment Act and Three Strikes law which the Sensible Sentencing Trust lobbied for and celebrated. “McVicar backed the inept policies that created the overcrowding he now grandstands about.”

“McVicar’s comment reflects the complete disregard for human life found in our criminal justice system,” says Rākete. “People who are stamped as criminals are given the choice either to rot in prison or to die.”

“If someone has died instead of “clogging up” the prisons, celebrating that is an admission that prisons don’t work to rehabilitate anyone. The Sensible Sentencing Trust has no interest in rehabilitation. They care about looking tough and intimidating people.”

“Through our advocacy, we have seen first hand that prisoners are human beings. They are capable of change when they have the means to live and people who believe in them,” says Rākete. “Treating prisoners like monsters, and trying to exterminate them, robs them of the chance to grow and transform their behaviour.”

“The Sensible Sentencing Trust has only helped to create the conditions of deprivation and suffering which breed crime and violence,” says Rākete. “It peddles primary school-level explanations of “cops and robbers” and celebrates the death of human beings.”

“The Sensible Sentencing Trust does not meet the definition of a charity. It should not be able to claim tax breaks.”

The petition can be accessed at https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/sensible-sentencing-trust-should-not-have-charitable-status


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