October 26, 2016
Better strategies needed to reduce prison population
A Maori justice reform advocate says the Government has adopted a war on crime mentality rather than trying to address the social and structural issues that drive crime.
Kim Workman says while other countries are closing prisons saving billions of dollars, New Zealand is spending billions on adding more prison beds.
He says Texas reduced imprisonment rates by 10 percent and saw a 25 percent drop in recidivism and savings of $3 billion.
The Dutch closed 19 jails in 2014, and Sweden cut prisoner numbers by giving less harsh sentences for drug offences.
"Now we really do have to say why are we spending all that money when we could develop a strategy which would reduce the prison levels by up to 25 per cent . We could do that over 5 years if we had a mind to without compromising public safety," he says.
Kim Workman says the bulk of the extra prisoners going in the New Zealand jails will be Maori, and iwi leaders need to take a stand on the issue.
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