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McVicar in Conflict with Judith Collins

McVicar in Conflict with Judith Collins over prisoner rehabilitation

“Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust is in direct conflict with the Minister of Corrections, over his claims that the therapeutic treatment of prisoners has not worked” says Kim Workman, of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. In a media statement released yesterday, Sensible Sentencing said that prisoner therapy and treatment has been totally discredited and doesn’t work.” http://www.safe-nz.org.nz/press.htm

“He is in direct conflict with Minister Collins on this issue. Minister Collins has been actively promoting the success of drug treatment in prisons over the last three years. The number of drug units has grown from five to nine in the last three years, catering for the therapeutic needs of up to 1000 offenders. She recently announced that the units reduce offending by a third and have been highly successful in helping prisoners kick their alcohol and drug addictions, and lead law-abiding lives.” http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/minister-opens-ninth-prison-drug-treatment-unit.

“Garth claims that Rethinking Crime and Punishment is in ‘panic mode’ because rehabilitation hasn’t worked. In fact, Rethinking agrees with the Minister that drug treatment programmes work. However, we also know that when drug treatment programmes are run in the community, they cost about a third of the prison programme, and produce roughly a 50% better result. In the lower half of the North Island there are around 140 residential drug and alcohol places within the prison, and about 20 places in the community. Given that many of these offenders are non-violent, and are not a public safety risk, we consider that more resource should be put into community based treatment.”

“Sensible Sentencing needs to stick to its knitting, whatever that is. Recent comments on criminal justice policy make it clear that they are well out of their depth.

In his media release, Garth totally misrepresents Rethinking’s views on crime and punishment. He should read our position paper “Doing Good Justice in Bad Times” and brush up. He can download it at:


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