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Rally to be held at Parliament against prison expansion

PRESS RELEASE: People Against Prisons Aotearoa

Prisoner advocacy organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) will be rallying outside Parliament next Tuesday to oppose the Government’s decision to build a 600 bed unit at Waikeria Prison.

“The criminal justice system is a complete failure,” says PAPA spokeswoman Kate McIntyre. “Prisons are not rehabilitative. They only serve to warehouse our most poor and dispossessed people, and sweep the issues which led them there under the rug.”

“The Government’s backdown on the three strikes law and its plans for prison expansion shows that there is very little political will to stick to its election promise and reduce the prison population.”

“More than ten thousand people are in prison right now, kept in miserable conditions and subjected to daily violence,” says McIntyre.

The Prime Minister’s chief scientist, Sir Peter Gluckman, released a report earlier this year. The report finds that prisons do little to rehabilitate prisoners, and that supporting people outside the criminal justice system in their communities yields much better results.

“The Government is pouring significant amounts of money and resources into a system that doesn’t work. It leaves people more damaged and more likely to harm others or themselves,” says McIntyre. “If prisons were rehabilitative, then we would not be facing this overcrowding crisis.”

“The Government must immediately reduce the number of people in prison, and stop supporting a system which only exacerbates societal problems. We need to start closing prisons, letting people out, and investing in better alternatives.”

“This rally has been called to bring people out in solidarity with those in prison. They have been victim to tough-on-crime policies and penal populism for too long.”

The rally will be held in Wellington outside Parliament on Tuesday 19th June at 1pm.


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