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The heading ‘CRIMINAL JUSTICE SUMMIT’ says it all

The heading ‘CRIMINAL JUSTICE SUMMIT’ says it all!
31st July 2018

Justice Minister Andrew Little has said the upcoming Criminal Justice Summit is for victims as well as offenders, but Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) Youth Advocate Jess McVicar disagrees “The summit is meant to be about reforming our justice system and is supposedly also about reassuring victims they have a place in the justice system, but from what we have seen so far, we do not believe this is the case. SST think the name “Criminal Justice” summit is a clear indication of just who this reform is about; it is the criminals and sadly it is not for our nations victims.”

The SST have growing concerns over the reform of the justice system, as none of the proposed changes are victim friendly. The first items we believe Minister Little will focus on are the Parole Act, the Bail Act, and the Sentencing Act, but the real ‘game changer’ is what we can do inside our prisons to rehabilitate offenders.

Jess questions just how much time he has spent with victims and has he actually spared the time to ask them what they think of his proposed changes. “Since the Minister's announcement on justice reform, he has failed to reply to a victim of a heinous crime and the injustice of the justice system. He has not even given this victim a moment of his time, so what does that truly say about his concerns for victims? They tell us this is what the public want, but he cannot even take a moment to reply to a victim who has begged him to review his decisions. Jess went on to say “the government are so determined to get their way with the reforms, that they will tell the public what they think people want to hear. “

The SST did an OIA request concerning the prison muster, and it shows very clearly why the Trust are so concerned about the number of prisoners the government want to release back into our law-abiding communities.

“The Trust agree that rehabilitation needs to be provided to offenders if there is to be any hope of turning them around and thereby minimising the number of more innocent victims going forward, however we have grave concerns regarding the current rehabilitation programmes as to whether they are successful, given the statistics concerning prisoners’ reconviction rates as shown below. The government has to accept there are also a number of offenders who should never ever be released into the public.

• The typical inmate has 46 previous convictions
• 71% are for serious violent offences
• 12% are for drugs and drug related crimes – almost exclusively manufacturing, dealing and importing
• 12% are for weapons, breaches, arson and fraud offences
• 5% are for multiple driving offences

And the government want to release a third of those offenders onto the unsuspecting public! The safety of the community must be the paramount concern! ENDS


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