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Prison abolition should be on the table

Criminal Justice Researchers: Prison abolition should be on the table in justice reform talks

The criminal justice research and advocacy organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) says that prison abolition needs to be on the table in any reforms of New Zealand’s criminal justice system.

“The prison system is broken. Prisons don’t rehabilitate people but actually make people more violent,” says PAPA spokeswoman Emilie Rākete.

“Evidence from New Zealand and across the world clearly demonstrates that there are better alternatives to prisons. Focussing on rehabilitation and addressing the causes of harmful behaviour are substantially more effective at preventing violence from occurring in the first place.”

“Prisons actually make communities less safe. For all communities to be able to thrive, we need to look beyond imprisonment.”

PAPA says that attendees of the Justice Summit recognised this fact. “The loud, clear consensus from Summit attendees was that prisons should not exist by 2040,” says Rākete.

“We need to make plans now for the complete elimination of prisons in Aotearoa. This is the only way we can keep our communities safe.”

“If this government is serious about addressing entrenched poverty and poor social outcomes for Māori, it has to start with prisons. Dumping thousands of Māori into concrete boxes every year is racist violence that needs to end.”


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