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Criminal justice programmes must address roots of offending

The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit today released the second in a series of Briefing Notes calling for a new vision in criminal justice programmes.

Case Resolution and Rehabilitation Programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand follows on from an August report that explored the roots of offending. This second instalment surveys findings from reviews of various criminal justice programmes.

“Our research shows successful programmes reveal certain patterns which are successful because they address the roots of offending. If brought into the mainstream of offender management, they have the potential to transform New Zealand’s crime outcomes,” said Lt. Colonel Ian Hutson, director of SPPU.

The report examines a wide range of successful offender management programmes including alternative trial methods. It advocates intensive casework at trial, sentencing, and aftercare phases to deter future offending.

It also highlights the importance of ongoing wraparound support to assist in reintegration and argues that any reform must be accompanied by economic regeneration, particularly in the regions.

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“Crime is a phenomenon rooted in offenders’ history and day-to-day lives. If we are to improve outcomes, policy must emerge from here because poverty and deprivation are powerful drivers of crime,” notes report author, Dr. Vincent Wijeysingha.

He adds that programmes should be tailored to the cultural needs of offenders and developed at the local level so they are responsive to need.

The Salvation Army, which has worked with offenders in New Zealand since 1884, has consistently advocated a humane approach to offenders which emphasises their human dignity and potential for growth and change.

The Briefing Note can be accessed at https://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/article/resolution-rehab-nz.


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