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Sensible Sentencing’s Attack on Justice Coalition

Sensible Sentencing’s Attack on Justice Coalition Incomprehensible

“Garth McVicar’s public attack on the newly formed Justice Coalition was unjustified and incomprehensible”, says Coordinator, Kim Workman.

He is referring to ‘Child Abduction debacle blamed on Justice Coalition’, a Sensible Sentencing Trust media release which stated that the unethical mind-set of Coalition members was responsible for recidivist criminals like Phillip Edwards being let loose on an unsuspecting community.

“Mr McVicar blames the Coalition for the release of recidivist offender Philip Edward. Edwards was not released by the Justice Coalition; he was released by the Courts because he came to the end of his sentence. Whatever length of sentence is imposed he will eventually be released. His actions since his release exemplify the reasons why released prisoners need to be in a better condition on release than when they were imprisoned. That is why the Justice Coalition wants prisoners to be taught to read and write, to learn work skills, to have their drug and alcohol addictions dealt with, to recognize and work through their mental health problems and to turn their lives around so that they leave prison as better people. The Justice Coalition seeks to work with prisoners, whatever their length of sentence, to ensure the community is safe when they are released. The Sensible Sentencing Trust approach will only ensure that people like Edwards are worse when they come out than when they went in.”

“It is unfortunate that the Sensible Sentencing Trust has adopted such a hostile stance toward the Justice Coalition, as there are aspects of this case that we agree on. Mr McVicar spoke convincingly on National Radio about the support that young offenders need. We actively advocate for early intervention with young people, the early identification and treatment of mental health issues, and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder for those children living in violent homes. In cases like Edwards, who was living a transient lifestyle, Coalition members are actively involved in providing reintegrative support for ex-prisoners and their families, in order to reduce reoffending and victimisation.”

“The Coalition, launched last week, includes victim focused organisations such as the Women’s Refuge, Victim Support, Restorative Justice Aotearoa, and the Salvation Army”, says Mr Workman. Its ethics, values and principles, which Mr McVicar challenges, can be checked out in an information booklet at http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/GeneralPDF/Justice-Coalition%20Booklet.pdf.


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