August 21, 2018
NZ under microscope in justice talks
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says talking about an effective justice system shouldn’t start with a discussion about prisons, but with a discussion about New Zealand.
Launching the Criminal Justice Summit at parliament last night, the Prime Minister pointed to social and economic changes that have moved New Zealand from having strong communities that looked after one another to an individual approach to solving problems.
That led to communities made up of individuals with little support, little connection, and worst of all – the absence of hope.
She cited Children’s Commissioner and former Youth Court principal judge Andrew Becroft’s observation that most young offenders shared histories of disengagement with work or education, family or gang violence, drug and alcohol use of learning disabilities.
That was a shopping list of issues to solve for any politician who wanted to listen.
Seventy percent of people in New Zealand prisons have difficulty with literacy, 62 percent have experienced mental health issue in previous 12 months, and 47 percent have an addiction problem.
Some 40 percent of men and 52 percent of women inmates have a lifetime diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder from abuse and violence.
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