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Judith Collins claim:'Soft on crime’ groups monopolise media

Judith Collins claims that ‘soft on crime’ policy groups monopolise media

Minister of Police, Hon Judith Collins claim that ‘soft on crime’ ’crime and justice policy groups are getting too much attention from the media, has no basis in fact says Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. He was responding to a comment made by Minister Collins in her speech at yesterday’s Police Association Conference.

“A survey of criminal justice groups mentioned by the Dominion Post and the NZ Herald in 2004 found that the highest number of mentions went to the Sensible Sentencing Trust at 57, with Victim Support trailing well behind at 33. This was a disappointing result, given that Victim Support has a great deal of expertise and knowledge around support for victims, and deals with 60,000 victims a year, compared to the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s 100 or so murder victims”. Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation were mentioned 14 times, Howard League 10, and Rape Crisis 5.

“Seven years later, Sensible Sentencing Trust still outdoes any other contenders in the publicity stakes. What has changed is that there is a greater number of groups and individuals entering into a more balanced and wider ranging discussion. Media and blogs are no longer interested in the “soft – tough’, ‘liberal –conservative’ nonsense. They want to discuss the issues in depth. The quality law and order conversations on blogs, Facebook, social media and Television weren’t happening 7 years ago. Programmes like Native Affairs, Court Report, Q and A, and Thinktank, have taken the law and order debate to a whole new level. Rethinking has a speakers bureau of 35 experts and professionals , who engage with the public and service organisation on issues such as prison, child conduct disorder, drug and alcohol use, Maori over-representation, community based sentencing, youth offending, restorative justice and so on.”

Rethinking’s business is to inform citizens, the mass media, practitioners, policy-makers and politicians alike about what works in reducing crime. In the process we highlight the flaws in quick and dirty research, identify populist measures that have no foundation in fact, and identify approaches that will get better results.”

“Informed public opinion encourages truth telling and honesty. That can work to the disadvantage of anyone who makes claims which are unsupported by evidence. For example a recent claim by Minister Collins and the Sensible Sentencing Trust that the recent drop in crime was due to Three Strikes, was very quickly put down in the media by a number of expert commentators. There was no evidence for it, and criminal justice professionals fell about laughing at the idea.

ENDS

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