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Wiri Prison named Te Pātiki Moemoeā

Wiri Prison named Te Pātiki Moemoeā – “The Field of Dreams”

Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, has proposed a name for the new prison – “Te Pātiki Moemoeā” - “The Field of Dreams”.

“The Field of Dreams was an iconic 1989 movie in which an Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago Black Sox come.”

“The decision to build the Wiri prison is based on the same principle, “build the prison, and the prisoners will come”. It is a decision based on Parkinson’s Law –i.e. “Storage requirements will increase to meet storage capacity.”

“The decision does not make economic or moral sense. In August of last year, the Minister of Finance declared that prisons were a “moral and fiscal failure”. In October Prime Minister John Key said the 1060-prisoner facility may not be needed, because of falling prison numbers. The decision is the result either of divine intervention, or a mistaken belief that the decision will earn wide public support. The $900m spent on the prison, could have gone a long way to addressing the causes of crime, and reinvesting the Justice dollar in improved offender treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration services.”

Kim Workman is currently in Taiwan, speaking at Universities and public meetings on restorative justice and alternatives to imprisonment. He says, “The attitude here is much more clear cut. In summary, the people say:
1. Our prisons are full.
2. We have no money to build more prisons.
3. We will therefore reduce the number of people who enter prisons.”
“In New Zealand, it is very possible to do the same thing, without any risk to public safety. All it requires is a moral compass, and political leadership.”

www.rethinking.org.nz

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