September 18, 2014
Prison roster growing despite crime drop
Rethinking Crime and Punishment want the next Government to reduce the prison population by 25 percent over the next three years.
Spokesperson Kim Workman says the current prison population stands at 8,754 an increase of 119 prisoners over the past year.
That's despite a reduction in the crime rate.
Mr Workman says overseas experience is that the link between prison populations and crime rates is relatively weak, and it is possible to substantially reduce prison populations without harming public safety.
He says in New York, New Jersey and California, where prison populations have been cut by more than 25 percent, crime rates have declined faster than the national average.
Strategies that have been successfully employed in the United States include legislation reducing the length of prison sentences for non-violent offenders; reinvesting justice, health and social service resources into community based rehabilitation programmes, as an alternative to imprisonment; and legislating for less restrictive parole measures.
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