July 30, 2013
Prison population staying up
Lobby group Rethinking Crime and Punishment is looking into why the prison population isn't going down.
Director Kim Workman says it has stayed constant at 8600 for the past two years despite what the government says is an 11 percent reduction in the crime rate, and a 9 percent reduction in reoffending.
He says people closely linked to the criminal justice system claim the Parole Board has become unreasonably risk averse, meaning prisoners are being unnecessarily denied parole.
Others cite the failure of Corrections to provide rehabilitation programmes in a timely and targeted fashion.
More than half the prison muster is Māori.
Mr Workman says jurisdictions around the world are acting to reduce prison populations, and there is no available evidence that the reductions have resulted in significant increased risk to public safety.
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