October 19, 2016
Rehab options ignored for more prison space
The chief executive of the National Urban Maori Authority says no good will come out of the government’s investment in more prisons.
Corrections Minister Judith Collins has announced plans to make room for an extra 1800 prisoners, including double-bunking at Ngawha in Northland, a new building at Mt Eden to take 245 extra prisoners, and possibly a new 1500-bed public private prison on the Waikeria Prison site in Waikato.
Lance Norman says a better use for the money would be addressing the conditions in society that lead to disproportionate numbers of Maori entering a pipeline to jail through poor schooling, poor housing, poor health and overall poverty.
He says Corrections is incapable of rehabilitating Maori prisoners, but programmes like Out of Gate, which puts released inmates into temporary accommodation and wraps services around them, prove it can be done.
"Now there’s so much evidence of what works for us. We put up business cases to the crown, saying let's invest in these models, but they would rather spend $2.5 billion in negative – there is nothing good going to come out of this $2.5 billion in expenditure except some building contractor who’ll make some money," Mr Norman says.
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