Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

New report on criminal justice from The Salvation Army

This year has seen an unusually large number of important New Zealand criminal justice reports and think pieces. The Ministry of Justice's Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata safe and effective programme has led the way, with the Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora advisory group's first report (He Waka Roimata (https://www.safeandeffectivejustice.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/7efb12cccb/teuepureport_hewakaroimata2.pdf)) and the more recent Māori hui's manifesto (Inaia Tonu Nei (https://www.safeandeffectivejustice.govt.nz/about-this-work/hui-maori/)).

Hot on the heels of yesterday's release of the Waitangi Tribunal's He Aha i Pērā Ai? report on prisoner voting (https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_151635085/He%20Aha%20i%20Pera%20Ai.pdf) comes the Salvation Army's "Reconsidering the Aotearoa New Zealand Criminal Justice Policy Model." This, of course, is all on top of the usual array of Ombudsman's and Prison Inspectorate reports of individual prisons. Reporting on the criminal justice system, it seems, is fast becoming de rigueur.

Today's Salvation Army's contribution is proposed as the first of three briefing notes. It lays out a conceptual inter-weaving of theoretical approaches to criminal justice, which is a refreshing step to take given political preference will likely be to nibble around the edges of reforms and existing legislation rather than finding comfort in a complete uprooting of the entire system. The government's compromised reaction to yesterday's Waitangi Tribunal's assertive statement on prisoner voting appears symptomatic of this, and not reflective the oft-stated "transformative change" promised for our broken justice system. The Salvation Army report also continues many threads which have permeated recent calls for reform. In this sense it revisits some well-worn acts: challenging "penal populism," shaming NZ's excessively high incarceration rate, and reiterating the disparity between punitive justice systems and successive rehabilitation and reintegration. Given Bill English's ability to proclaim the moral and fiscal failure of prisons, this will not be the first time readers will read that "punishment models like prison do not work." (p. 13). Equally, many will whole-heartedly agree with the description of NZ's "expensive, ineffective, and inefficient [criminal justice] policy that sees up to half of all offenders reoffend within five years and one which is so institutionally racist that more than half of all prisoners are Māori" (p. 13).

Less common is the description of kaupapa Māori justice models, emphasising restoration and communal wholeness in a judicial process which is "exploratory and inquisitorial rather than accusatory and adversarial." (p. 11). This - as the author suggests - will be where the potential for change is most powerful. However, unlike Inaia Tonu Nei, which propels its urgency about what must be done and when, the Salvation Army report takes its time, no doubt aware that it is the first act of a trilogy. Regardless I hope that the importance of the 71% of adults who comprise the majority of NZers unaffected by our criminal justice system is revisited in Briefing Note 2. More typically centre stage is given to the 29% who occupy the offender and victim statistics - and rightly so, given the need to properly understand the close and complex correlation between offenders, poverty and victimhood. As the report reminds us:

"The typical offender is ... likely to have experienced severe socioeconomic deprivation in his life ... three quarters of offenders will have experienced violence, and up to four fifths of Māori offenders. A fifth would have experienced sexual violence. Three fifths would have experienced the unexpected death of someone close, for example, through murder or suicide. In their health histories, they are likely to have experienced traumatic brain injury, mental health problems, addictions, or have had other health issues ... They will be broadly illiterate, more likely to smoke, and more likely to be long-term welfare recipients. They will have experienced poverty and family adversity including deficit parenting, school problems, and deviant peer affiliations. They will also be likely to be living in an area of high deprivation" (p. 4).

However perhaps now it is time to also spend a little time understanding how the other 71% - who have little personal knowledge of the system many of us think needs changing - tick? These will likely be the people who in the end actually decide what shape any future change will be, and so may be the critical component for any viable and long-term criminal justice reform.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Global Factors Facing TV3

Oaktree Capital gave MediaWorks a gallows reprieve in 2013 by pushing out its former Australian owner Ironbridge and facilitating a receivership-driven restructure that enabled MediaWorks to shed a burden of tax liabilities and international programme purchasing contracts. Oaktree eventually assumed 100% ownership of Mediaworks in 2015.

But here’s the rub. In May of this year, Oaktree itself was bought into by the giant Canadian firm Brookfields Asset Management... In the light of the Brookfields stake and the uncertain state of the global economy, Oaktree has come under pressure to shed and/or streamline the underperforming assets in its portfolio. More>>

 

Bullying Investigations: Police Commissioner Announces Independent Review

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today announced an independent review of the systems and processes NZ Police has in place to address complaints of bullying. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Now We Are Two

Questions covered Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' comments on the potential closure of Mediaworks' television channels, the Auckland light rail planning process, the select committee report on the Zero Carbon Bill and its methane target range... More>>

Court Issues New Guildines: Revamp Of Meth Sentencing Welcomed

The court accepted submissions by both the New Zealand Bar Association and the New Zealand Law Society that rather than solely focusing on the quantity of meth involved, there should be greater focus on the role of the offender. More>>

ALSO:

'Armed Response Teams': Armed Police "Will Cause American-Style Shootings"

The Police Commissioner's announcement that squadcars of officers with automatic rifles will patrol New Zealand's streets is dangerous and unnecessary, according to the criminal justice community organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The ... More>>

ALSO:

Control Orders: Amnesty Says Don't Rush Terrorism Bill

"The problem is, we often see the word “terrorism” being applied broadly by oppressive regimes to detain innocent people who're simply rallying for a better life." More>>

ALSO:

Expert Reaction: $17 million To Fight Online Extremist Content

The Department of Internal Affairs will double its work investigating and preventing violent extremism online. Funding will also help bolster the Chief Censor's work to make fast decisions about harmful content. More>>

ALSO:

Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels