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Invest in crime prevention not prisons says Community Law

Invest in crime prevention not prisons says Community Law

Lower reoffending rates through the restorative justice system are proof that government resources should be directed into crime prevention rather than prisons says Community Law.

Justice Minister Amy Adams last week announced that reoffending rates for those who participated in restorative justice conferences were 15 per cent lower than comparable offenders who did not participate.

Community Law Centre O Aotearoa Chief Executive Elizabeth Tennet says Community Law supported Minister Amy Adam’s comments that restorative justice was proving effective at reducing crime.

“Putting money into preventative services is a much better investment than pouring millions of dollars into prisons, which Finance Minister Bill English has described as a ‘moral and fiscal failure’.”

Ms Tennet says Community Law wants to work with the Government to help reduce the reasons for crime, support the victims of crime and work on sustainable and effective ways of redirecting people away from crime.

“Restorative justice conferences and community justice panels are proven options for reducing crime. In both cases, offenders are taking greater accountability for their actions, and this is having an impact on reoffending rates.”

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley’s experience running one of the restorative justice contracts reflects the findings that restorative justice was particularly beneficial for young offenders.


Background

Twenty-four Community Law Centres work out of over 140 locations across New Zealand to provide free legal help and advice to those who are unable to pay for a private lawyer or who do not have access to legal aid.

This advice covers all aspects of New Zealand’s legal system, including family law, employment issues, housing problems, consumer advice and criminal law.

As well as around 170 staff, Community Law’s services are boosted by over 1,200 volunteer lawyers who run clinics and deliver free advice and assistance.

www.communitylaw.org.nz


ends

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