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Chain gang

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, October 29th, 2008 - 76 comments
Categories: crime, national - Tags:

The Nats’ private prison scheme just gets worse. As No Right Turn points out prisons would be used to do contract work and prisoners would be forced to be used as cheap labour or lose their parole.

Aside from the fact this would constitute slave labour it would also allow prison companies to undercut other contractors and in doing so depress the labour market and ensure higher unemployment.

Of course one of the main drivers of crime is unemployment so one could argue National has developed the perfect self-sustaining system in which nobody loses.

Well, except for prisoners, workers, small firms and the community at large.


76 comments on “Chain gang”

  1. Janet 1

    Striped uniforms, shackles, bread and water, tents in the desert? There’s a sherriff in the US who has tried all these and is probably lined up to advise.

  2. Scribe 2

    Parole is not a right.

  3. IrishBill 3

    Scribe, are you saying parole should be contingent on providing your labour for the profit of private corporations?

  4. Pascal's bookie 5

    Scribe and Aaron

    Doubleplusgood duckspeak

  5. Dom 6

    Rehabilitation good, slave labour bad! (I figured we were doing a whole Orwellian homage thread here…)

  6. I think this is the most repugnant policy National have released yet. And that’s a high bar…

  7. Scribe 8


    I’m saying that your contention that inmates lose their parole suggests that prisoners have an inherent right to parole.

    Parole should be something that is earned through a range of means — good behaviour, completing rehab courses/restorative justice, work etc.

  8. Akldnut 9

    Scribe, Aaron – would you see all criminals carry out their full terms or just the hard core crims: Murderers, Rapists, Child pornographers…………Fraudsters, Drink Drivers, Speedsters, Taggers, Jaywalkers, Litterers, Swearers, Liers.

    Where do you draw the line of distiction because under the law they are all punishable and a depending on location, a habitual repeat offender could find himself charged and before the courts.

  9. Akldnut 10

    You would have half the country locked up if national had it their way

  10. IrishBill 11

    Scribe, that’s absurd pedantry. But regardless let me rephrase: do you believe prisoners should lose the right to apply for parole if they refuse to supply their labour to a private company?

  11. Scribe 12

    Should parole be given unless there is reason not to?

    Or should it only be given if there is a reason to?

  12. vto 13

    my 2c says that conceptually it is a good idea. But easy to get it lost amongst all the exageration, diversion and spin e.g. ‘private companies profit’ etc.

    what is so arong with requiring prisoners to work? or, the softer option, allow them to choose whether to work, with a consequence linked to the choice they make. Sounds like all of us really.

    a cold front in a tea cup.

  13. vto 14

    excuse my spelling etc

  14. Scribe 15


    Not sure how that’s pedantry. Parole is an issue on which parties disagree and it’s something people ought to consider when deciding who to vote for.

    do you believe prisoners should lose the right to apply for parole if they refuse to supply their labour to a private company?

    No, I don’t. But they should have to earn parole as a privilege by doing something productive.

  15. Bill 16

    What if you were on invalidity benefit before you went in? Forced to work in spite of your disability, or destined to never qualify for parole?

    I’m thinking potential of discrimination and a morass of contradictions. Unworkable.

  16. DeeDub 17

    Offering training and education is the key. If apprentcieships were available, for instance, I think that would be great. But general labouring for the profit of the prison ‘company’ is something I would not like to see in NZ. And linking the prisoners decision not to labour to his/her parole chances seems patently unfair to me. If we genuinely want to see less crime in NZ we need to address the causes not lock people away and make them break rocks . . .

  17. the sprout 18

    Perhaps National could call the scheme Arbeit Macht Frei?

  18. higherstandard 19

    If I can borrow from Rex’s excellent comment here.


    ” I’m open to anything that might provide prisoners with reasonable conditions while also helping genuinely rehabilitate them and reduce reoffending – and which are effective in containing and ensuring the continued detention of the small percentage of people beyond rehabilitation.”

  19. Sprout – “that’s not something we’d consider until a second term.”

  20. Do we need anymore proof that John Key’s government is going to be a big corporate sell out.

    Absolutely revolting people the top Nats. And no that does not include all the Nat voters. I’m sure a lot of Nat voters will be turned off by policies such as this.

    Your not going to believe this!

    Captcha: PAROLE life.

    Bugger my browser crashed and now it’s boring old: ities lives

  21. Lampie 22

    “Perhaps National could call the scheme Arbeit Macht Frei?”

    Watch it Sprout, have Lew go on about overuse of Na*** again

    But I agree, seems we forgot our history and before the War, we praised them (well Europe did anyway)

  22. coge 23

    How is play station, plasma tv’s & under floor heating
    going to rehabilitate anybody? Surely the introduction of a work ethic will have a better result for those being released. That is part of rehabilitation, not sitting around all day scheming. The devil makes work for idle hands, & this is the reason most of them are incarcerated anyhow. The existing system is corrupt, violent & doesn’t work. Private contractors are expected to deliver, or they will lose their contract. Unlike the public prisons. At present there is no accountability.

  23. Lew 24

    In principle, would you (the generic `you’ including anyone who wants to answer) approve of a scheme whereby prison workers were guaranteed most of the same work rights as free workers (excluding some obvious ones, like being able to quit, etc.)? A scheme where they were guaranteed to be paid minimum wage, a portion of which would go to tax, a portion to paying any outstanding fines or liabilities the inmate might have, a portion to their victim if appropriate, a portion to their families or dependents on the outside, and a portion into a holding account for their release.


  24. Lew 25

    Incidentally, the tone of the hang ’em and flog ’em brigade’s comments on this topic is positively puritanical.


  25. Lew 26

    Lampie: not so inclined to do so in this case, since the policy explicitly requires that to become frei one must arbeit machen.


  26. Lampie 27

    “Do we need anymore proof that John Key’s government is going to be a big corporate sell out.”

    Yes, you too can be run by a company. Why have nanny state run your life when you can have complete freedom under XYZ Ltd? (minimum fee $50 per month, credit conditions applied). Plus get your first month free on the new 111 emergency plan, one free police visit per year bonus (standard additional fees apply for fire and ambulance).

    Plus don’t forget about our adopt a prisoner scheme. (all proceeds go to backpockets and bribes for National administrators and more Contact shares)

  27. milo 28

    Is nothing you can’t see through a anti-National prism? Work is an integral part of rehabilitation. Is it better to have prisoners lying on bunks shooting up for 18 months, and then set them free and say ‘you’re rehabilitated now, don’t do it again.’

    Here’s a challenge – what do you think is most important for rehabilitation?

  28. Lampie 29

    “Lampie: not so inclined to do so in this case, since the policy explicitly requires that to become frei one must arbeit machen. ”

    yeah right

    Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Brings Freedom) was the sign over the gates of Auschwitz. It was placed there by Major Rudolf Hoss, commandant of the camp

  29. Ianmac 30

    I think that most prisoners welcome the work already offered in prison if for no other reason that it eases the boredom.
    Private Prisons cherry pick the easier crims or the remand prison as they did before. Wonder if a private prison would take on those locked up for Life Means Life?
    Off topic:
    Gerry Brownlee Shares etc:
    In the Listener Nov1-7, page 19 Clifton reports that John said in relation to his Tranzrail shares: “Did it Matter? Well you either have a conflict of interest or you don’t; it doesn’t matter whether you hold one share or a million. ………perception that I tried to hide something….became a reality….”
    Does this mean that he would say that Gerry’s “few shares are important??

  30. Fred111 31

    Fxxk Parole… The crims should get the sentence laid out in the law instead of the pussying around that lawyers and judges go through working toward a lesser sentence. Have YOU been a victim of serious crime and seen the results of the court system?

    Crims WANT to go to jail because of the cruisy lifestyle, they KNOW they won’t get the maximum sentence and parole will likely cut the sentence in half.

    Get them out to do some work – hell, it already happens with Periodic Detention for one day a week, and noone’s moaning about that! There’s PLENTY of work to go around – what’s the job loss difference between working… or working while in jail?

    GO John GO!

  31. Lew 32

    Lampie: Thanks, I’m not in any state of ignorance about the origin of the phrase. But I laid out my justification – when they say `you won’t get parole unless you work’ they are explicitly (not implicitly) saying `work will make you free’.

    And if you’re going to resort to cutnpaste from the internets, don’t you think you should provide some attribution?


  32. Milo,

    Forcing people never did any good.
    Abusing and forcing already disenfranchised people to do menial jobs that will earn the owners of the system profit is a recipe for disaster.
    How about this for a thought; Nobody should be able to benefit from crime. This is a much accepted idea. So why would you forbid criminals from making profits of their crimes but instead allow big Corporate privatised prisons to make profit of keeping prisoners and by treating them so bad that they will get out even more liable to repeat offend. The US has the biggest percentage of prisoners in the world.

    Wackenhut has absolutely no incentive to help rehabilitate their inmates why would they their source of wealth would disappear. Not smart business.

    People are not cattle to be kept in cages for someone to make money out of.
    End of story.

    And once again it shows the Nats top for the callous money grabbing scumbags that they are.

  33. coge 34

    Something needs to be said/moderated about those
    who try to equate National to Nazis. This is deeply offensive to many people, & says much about the deeply ingrained predjudices & ignorance of those making such assertions. It does nothing for the reputation of this blog.

    [Tane: Coge, I doubt you’re genuine in your concern for this blog’s reputation. In any case, the comments section seems to be pretty self-moderating on this issue. If it gets out of hand I’ll be sure to jump in.]

    [lprent: Besides there are built-in inhibitors. Words like that tend to be on my auto-moderate list because trolls love them]

  34. You would have half the country locked up if national had it their way

    Yup, all the usual suspects plus those who would vote for an LPGM government. They’d have a polling booth inside the prison, but on E-day the private operators would stage a “E-day suprise”, enforcing a lock-down and denying franchise. The NACT + Dunne govt would wash their hands of it.

  35. Lampie 36

    “And if you’re going to resort to cutnpaste from the internets, don’t you think you should provide some attribution?”

    Awww you use google too. and NO as I’m not pretrending to be walking dictionary like you.

    I agree with Sprout as parole not a given right also work for freedom is a no no. (you’ll might agree with that, no fence sitting!!). Work for freedom? Aghh where is the punishment in that??? Work for parole??? aghhhhh Foresnic psychology,anyone done that? Think you would like my wife’s book Lew and would reference that (wikipedia gets an F if reference at tertiary level ah Lew?)

  36. randal 37

    ev you are trying to reason with people who cant reason.
    the only thing they can do is count and that is a substitute for thinking and feeling as well
    they are the same types that externally reference themselves. i.e. I have a big car therefore i have a big dick
    you know what I mean
    they want to destroy the world just to make sure that they did it
    all in all they are a manifestation of the psychopathology of industrial capitalism and they expect everyone else to fall into line while they chew up the world and its resources to make thmeselves feel something

  37. r0b 38

    Something needs to be said/moderated about those who try to equate National to Nazis.

    Just wondering coge, have you ever made a similar comment at Kiwiblog about those that equate Labour to Nazis? If not, are you planning to?

  38. Pixie 39

    Privatise prisons…

    …and then Crime really DOES pay.

  39. Lampie 40

    “Just wondering coge, have you ever made a similar comment at Kiwiblog about those that equate Labour to Nazis? If not, are you planning to?”

    and communist filthy bastards too, don’t forget that

  40. Coge,

    Forcing people who have no choice and who are in a vulnerable position (Whether of their own making or because they just happened to like smoking a joint instead of getting drunk or God forbid some young kid caught in the art of creating street art as has been suggested) to do forced labour is exactly what happened to people in concentration camps.

    There is only a difference in the degree of abuse but not the basic system which is forcing people to work for someone else’s profit while captivated.

    Bush’s grand daddy made lots of money of the forced labour in Auschwitz.

    In fact Auschwitz was build were it was, to supply the steelworks over there with huge amounts of slave labour and I’m sure the Bush family has shares in the privatised US system thinking there is nothing inherently wrong with making money out of other people’s misery.

    The prison camps were not build for the extermination of the Jews alone initially but to supply the German Industry with slave labour. If you were gay you became a slave, if you were a gypsy you became a slave, if you performed a minor infraction you became a slave, if you were a Jew you became a slave. It wasn’t until later in the war that the Germans started to build gas chambers and began to mass murder the Jewish slave labourers in order to “solve the Jewish problem” once and for all. Hideous but true.

    It was an insidious callous predatory system for profit. Just as privatising the prison system and forcing inmates to perform forced labour for the profit of a third party is.

    As a human being it is repugnant to me (precisely because I have lived through the aftermath of WWII and seen what it does to people to be dehumanised) to even begin to see a prison system as a source of profit.

    If as a nation we have to isolate individuals because their actions are detrimental to our society than that should be done with the greatest of wisdom, not with dollar signs in someone’s eyes.

    It is a recipe for abuse and dehumanising our fellow human beings. I may not like what some of them have done but I refuse to allow anybody to be transformed into an imprisoned cash cow.

    And if because I do so by pointing out that only difference with the German slave labour system is the degree of dehumanisation I insult some people who think that it’s a great idea, well,so be it.

    To even propose such a system is incredibly insulting to me as what is called in Europe; a second generation war victim. (having to deal with traumatised parents who grew up in hunger winters and got bombed of the road by Germans, had to watch parents grieving after Jewish friends committed suicide because they could not cope with their slave labour memories, and who had a friend who had to pull the plug out of the kitchen sink because his mother couldn’t. Apparently that is the sound a decapitated body makes as it dies. you get my drift?)

    Once you start seeing powerless people, even criminals, as cash cows you are on a very slippery slope.

  41. Randal,

    Yeah I know.

  42. Lampie 43

    Thank you travellerev, I totally agree with that (now do you see Lew)

  43. milo 44

    Ok, so if you don’t want to rehabilitate people, because it demeans them. You want to lock them up just to protect society. Doesn’t that imply MUCH longer sentences?

    The logic on this thread seems … truncated.

    And my conclusion on the National:Nazi thing is this – many of The Standard authors want exactly that comparison, and dogwhistle it up whenever they can. The moderation policy then supports it. It’s difficult to come to any other conclusion based on the facts. And the people who do it are really keen to dictate government policy! Eewck. I hope they never closer to parliament than the Backbencher.

    And yes, I do criticize people on Kiwiblog for egregious behaviour.

    [Tane: Milo, don’t be silly. I don’t want my fellow lefties going down dead-ends like accusing National of being Nazis, not when there are so many other valid reasons to attack them and it can so easily backfire. You’ll notice I don’t ban people for calling us communists either, unless it gets too repetitive or abusive.

    Having said that, you can’t help people being slightly amused at the unfortunate irony of National’s policy literally being ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’, even if the comparison is somewhat distasteful.]

  44. Matthew Pilott 45

    Lampie, Lew was agreeing with you. I gather you missed that.

    The comments on the right are so fractured and disjointed that it seems they need to be fed lines.

    On the one hand, prisons are these wonderful cruisy places that crims actually want to go to, yet they don’t mind committing crime because there’s parole and they’ll get a short sentence. Hang on, doesn’t that mean we should increase parole, because they don’t want to be kicked out of prison? Shit, can’t do that, because then they’ll commit more crime to get sent back, even if only for a short period.

    So shouldn’t we tie them up and flog ’em and make them break rocks because they are evil and must be crushed? Well that won’t work, because we have to let them out, eventually, and they won’t be happy if that happens…even though in between the tying up and forced labour there is playstation and warm floor, so they will want to go back anyway. Hmm, there are a few flaws in the Conservative Collective.

    Go ask kiwiblog what you should say here. In the mean time, here’s some reality: people don’t want to go to prison. It’s not actually that nice. The playstations are probably for the white collar crims who only screw over entire communities, instead of individual families.

    Forced labour (because contrary to the bollocks about nice prisons, people still want parole) won’t help – if you change parole requirements to fulfilling a contract demand for humiliating virtual slave labour, as opposed to making it based upon good behaviour, you’re going to have some rather pissed off people getting out of prisons. The kind of work that would make someone appreciate the value of work isn’t the stuff we’re talking about here, clearly.

  45. Matthew Pilott 46

    Milo, your logic is flawed because you equate rehabilitation with forced labour. Probably a poor starting point.

  46. Lew 47

    milo: See here for the latest in a long line of my calling people out for using terms like this without regard for proper historical context.

    The case in this thread is somewhat different since that’s actually the policy, though I still don’t think it’s an especially good comparison to make, or think that anyone in their right mind would actually consider the Nats the same as the Nazis.


  47. the sprout 48

    Cheers Tane.
    I am not one to invoke Godwins but as you say, considering the phrase fit’s National’s policy exactly, you can’t really ignore the comparison.
    I would be much happier if National didn’t keep devising policies that made for such obvious and stark parallels.

  48. Lew 49

    Lampie: As the grandson of Dutch emigrants who fled Europe after the war because of the same ghosts Ev describes (on one side), I entirely agree with her sentiments regarding forced labour. I’m not sure how you figure that everything I say is necessarily opposed to everything you (or Ev) says.


  49. I find “Arbeit Macht Frei” massively distasteful, in fact i find the whole policy repulsive, written in German or English.

  50. higherstandard 51


    Have you actually read the policy – in fact has anyone here actually read the policy ?

    I’ve scanned it and there seems to be a lot of worthwhile ideas, but there seems to be that you have taken offence to “Amend the Parole Act to ensure that prisoners who are able to work but refuse to work are not eligible for parole. ”

    And linked it to some kind of slave labour which is a quite bizarre link to make as that would imply our police and judicial system were complicit in some kind of totalitarian state – as Rex said before and I agree with wholeheartedly

    ‘ I’m open to anything that might provide prisoners with reasonable conditions while also helping genuinely rehabilitate them and reduce reoffending – and which are effective in containing and ensuring the continued detention of the small percentage of people beyond rehabilitation.’

    As such I have no real issue with this policy much as I have no issues with increasing inmates learning based skills and giving inmates the chance to gain trades qualifications and improve their literacy and numeracy. I also strongly support more assistance for alcohol and drug education and treatment for inmates and for those with mental health problems.

  51. higherstandard 52

    As a complete change of tack from a commenter on Chris Trotters blog…

    “I happen to believe that no party has all the answers and no party has none of the answers to any issue.
    My hope for MMP had been that the major groupings would manage the country with regard to the economy, infrastructure etc and the whole parliament would have it’s voice listened to with regard to social engineering, with a conscience vote on all issues that affected the personal freedoms of the individual and family.
    In essence what seems to have happened is that FFP still applies, because once a block of parties is set up the largest party in the group acts like they’ve got the mandate over the whole country and the minor parties are expected to toe the line.
    I would have loved to see some good ‘crossing the floor’ on a lot of the bills passed this last Parliamentary session.
    The adversarial system still seems well and truly entrenched, where to acknowledge another party has a good idea,[and heaven forbid actually support it] is seen as being a ‘traitor’ to the ’cause’.”

    Very nice !

  52. Lew 53

    HS: This tendency will erode as MMP (as exercised both by electors and elected) matures. But yes, the system is still a Westminster ayes/noes dualism, and that won’t change just because of a new electoral system.


  53. Ianmac 54

    HS: What a pity the problem of the day can’t be identified,put up for debate, explored, consult then decide in non-partisan ways- a conscience vote if you like. But otherwise the plan gets buried with the Opposition hell-bent on blocking good ideas for political gain. What would have happened if the Protection of Children Act repeal S59, had been so treated? Would have passed with only the “We like to hit our kids Lovingly” left behind.

  54. higherstandard 55

    Perhaps Lew – but I can’t see it happening with the current parliamentarians.

    From your perspective have you found it to be a very quiet election – there seems to be less in the mailbox on the TV and up around town than there has been previously – thought it might just be me but several of my colleagues have made the same observation as well.

  55. higherstandard 56


    Agreed. It’s a major problem with our parliament in its present form where not only does the opposition of the day block ideas for political gain the governments of the day tend to both drive things through for political gain and ignore ideas from opposition parties.

    People and political parties are so locked into their ideologies and busy taking an oppositional view to the other side that things often move very slowly or not at all.

  56. Pat 57

    HS – I think the “quiet election” you speak of can be directly attributed to the effects of the EFA. Where are the flyers in the mailbox from the minor parties (for example). I have had only 2 flyers so far – both National.

  57. Lew 58

    HS: Hell no, it’s completely on. It’s just happening at a much more subtle level.

    The 2005 Labour v National campaign was like a WWE exhibition match, all glitz and glamour with bikini chicks and chairs getting thrown and everything. This campaign is being fought in deadly earnest, like a gloves-off no-holds-barred cage-fighting match. Just because the combatants spend most of their time locked together immobile on the mat or circling, waiting for an opening doesn’t mean it isn’t intense.

    And then there’s the minor party battle, which holds just as much goodness.


  58. randal 59

    well natoinal have floated this one knowing that it will never pass in parliament so they are getting a free hit.

  59. Lampie 60

    “Lampie, Lew was agreeing with you. I gather you missed that”

    Nah, I’m not disputing that at all MP, I’m sure he feels it is a crap policy like I do (I just love winding him up). I just can’t believe we (meaning all of us, well Nats mainly) actually even think of these stupid ideas that have been used in the past (to really really bad effect) as great new ideas (well not that new). Thought us Kiwis were intelligent buggers.

    Randal got it right, it’s a mad mad world.

  60. Quoth the Raven 61

    Lew – I am also the grandson of Dutch emigrants who fled after the war and I say use of the phrase is apt. There’s a lot of people with shared heritage here.

  61. randal 62

    so is it all right to ask if garth mcvictim has shares in wackanhurt?

  62. Lew 63

    QtR: Which phrase? Arbeit macht frei? If you read above again you’ll see me defending its use.


  63. Aaron Kirk 64

    Akldnut: In response to your question: “Would you see all criminals carry out their full terms or just the hard core crims: Murderers, Rapists, Child pornographers Fraudsters, Drink Drivers, Speedsters, Taggers, Jaywalkers, Litterers, Swearers, Liers”.

    Both of the two major and the majority of minor parties have pursued policies involving longer sentences for the worst crimes. This is something I support. I’m not talking about those people who swear, lie or litter, although petty, people still recognise them as being wrong. It is nature to know what is right and what is wrong. Labour’s sentencing laws have doubled minimum non-parole periods for the most serious crimes.

    New Zealand has had a huge increase in violent domestic crime as reported by the police. In comparison to 1990’s, one domestic violent incident in five was reported and now we’re doing better than that and of course domestic violence is no worse than stranger violence. It is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Those worst repeat violent offenders, shouldn’t get parole.

    Look ultimately the desire is to get those worst offenders off the streets. If you’re in a prison cell, you’re less likely to continue to commit these crimes. Building more prisons is beneficial, whoever becomes the next government will have to build new prisons I assure you which in progression will mean tougher laws.

    I think this policy aims to get involved before the offending hits the streets. Also note that it recognises that not enough is being done to work with prisoners with regard to drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

    I think this policy is straight forward enough to define the classifications of “worst repeat violent offenders” according to the types of crime that have previously been committed. For example if you’ve carried a crime/sentence of 5 years or more and do the same thing again, you fall into the category of no parole.

    We simply have to keep the community safe, the fact of the matter is, is that the prison population is the end product of a more violent society.

  64. Ianmac 65

    AAron: On the face of it the general policy is good. The catch is how much of it is just what is already happening within the constraints of manpower? And Infrastructure?

  65. randal 66

    I have just been reading general anthropology edited by franz boas and others.
    it seems that criminality is statistically predictable in any population.
    therefore it is a question that has no answer.
    some people are guilty of using the subject to keep the population agitated and in a state of fear and confusion instead of propsing rational solutions
    so we have declined into the politcis of hate and revenge
    how very civilised

  66. Akldnut 67

    Aaron I have no problems with what you say but isn’t “putting the worst repeat violent offenders inside” closing the gate after the horse has bolted, the crime/injury has already happened. If our correction service is swelling now, all we we be doing is make it explode.

    Rehablilitation is a lot cheaper than incarceration.

    Also due to increased manpower and infrastructure costs by having more overflowing prisons, it would only push the case for National as a government to privatise the correction sevice. (Another secret agenda perhaps?)

  67. Aaron Kirk 68

    I like your reasoning. Opinions are respected, which is what I like. You and I will have to agree to disagree.

  68. Lew 69

    randal: “I have just been reading general anthropology edited by franz boas and others.
    it seems that criminality is statistically predictable in any population.”

    Yes. This phenomenon is the manifestation of an effect like the one Durkheim described when talking of the perfect cloister:

    “Imagine a society of saints, a perfect cloister of exemplary individuals. Crimes or deviance, properly so-called, will there be unknown; but faults, which appear venial to the layman, will there create the same scandal that the ordinary offense does in ordinary consciousnesses. If then, this society has the power to judge and punish, it will define these acts as criminal (or deviant) and will treat them as such.”

    But this rather ignores the question at hand, which is not `what to do with the minor transgressions’ but `what to do with the serious crimes that demonstrate that this is not a perfect cloister?’


  69. Quoth the Raven 70

    Lew – Yeah I know, I was agreeing with you.

    Knowing my grandparents who lived through nazi occupation and their relavtives who lived through it too and seeing the commenters like you and Eve here its interesting to note that none of them would ever vote National and I’m making no comparisons there just an observation.

  70. Lew 71

    QtR: Heh. Definitely not. My Oma votes Winston First, to keep the immigrants out. You know, the ones who arrive with very little and can’t speak English 🙂


  71. Aaron Kirk 72

    Ianman in response to your question: “The catch is how much of it is just what is already happening within the constraints of manpower? And Infrastructure?”

    Talking about the constraints of manpower. National will no doubt address this in their first term as government and have reputedly stated their plans to increase police recruit numbers. This will demonstrate force within communities on the front line which will benefit those who want to feel safe. It is again, only natural to want to feel safe within the community you’re staying in. National will be recruiting around 1,200 new police officers – two hundred more than Labour has committed. So manpower shouldn’t be a problem. That equates to a total of one police officer for every 500 people, and this can be reached by 2011 – with a cost of around $18 million a year.

    Violent murderers and criminals who assault children is what National’s law and order policy seem to be targeting more so than any other. Penalties, should incur for those who abuse, neglect and kill children. Again, no parole should be granted for those whose acts are at the extreme end of the scale.

    On rehabilitation, National’s prison reform policy addresses what, those who’re condemned to a period of prison life, can be done to reach parole. No work, no parole. Prisons can tender for work for the inmates and will have to do it on a commercial basis factoring in the minimum wage and some of the money will benefit victims. So it is not as if they’re disregarding all inmates’ right to parole, unless disabled or to dangerous.

    On infrastructure: National will no doubt plan to borrow for it and why, because in a recent radio item I recall Mr Key saying that New Zealand has inter-generational assets. Or assets that pay solely out of cash and in turn, build very limited amounts of infrastructure.

  72. Quoth the Raven 73

    Lew – Damn that Winston’s charisma. It’s still not National though.

  73. Rex Widerstrom 74

    HS… thanks for quoting my contribution non the other thread (to which I’ve since added a follow-up comment).

    I don’t give a big hairy rat’s arse who runs our prisons provided that:
    – conditions in them are acceptable (though I accept that’s a highly subjective term), and
    – they are effective in reducing recidivism (which is an easily measurable benchmark).

    The majority of prisons around the world are state run. I can’t recall hearing of any such a prison which fully meets those criteria. A minority of prisons are privately run. Most of them also do not meet the criteria – but a handful do.

    Can I suggest again that those whose knees have jerked in response to the idea of private prisons look into the results achieved by Serco, who run private prisons in the UK, WA and Germany.

    They are paid partly on their effectiveness at reducing recidivism and properly rehabilitating and reintergrating prisoners. They do exceptionally well at this (compared to state run prisons) and part of the reason is the Path2Work programme which is structured so as to avoid or at least minimise the concerns IrishBill raises. The concerns are valid, yes, but they can be legislated around.

    Amongst the training Serco offer (as well as trade related work) is IT skills and multimedia. Has anyone ever been in a state run prison in NZ? The best you can hope for is a couple of tired old outdated PCs (running Windows 95), a CO who has no idea or interest in how to use them, and a couple of programs designed to teach primary school kids to read. When I offered to teach computing – or even English – I was looked at with blank stares and told to take my university education and go back to folding underpants in the laundry.

    I would have thought most readers of the Standard would want to achieve the best possible outcomes in something as vital to so many lives as justice,prisons, and rehabilitation. But it seems if a worklable solution isn’t within the prescribed ideological framework, the left can be as blinkered as the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

  74. Rex Widerstrom 75

    Meanwhile Fred111 suggests:

    Crims WANT to go to jail because of the cruisy lifestyle

    Yeah, I found the spell in “Critical Care” (aka wear a canvas jacket, have the light on 24/7 so you can’t sleep, a mattress on the floor, and watched on a camera even when using the toilet,supposedly because “you’re suicidal” but actually because “we don’t like you”) almost as much fun as the solitary confinement (locked down with no TV, radio or human contact for 23 hours a day) I got when I transferred prisons. Not for doing anything wrong – I couldn’t have done, I’d only just arrived! – but just as their way of saying “welcome to our prison – we’ve been told we also shouldn’t like you”.

    The unprovoked attack by someone I’d never laid eyes on was really something to write home about, as was seeing a guy stabbed repeatedly in the face with a fork while I was trying to eat the slop that constantly made me vomit so that I lost around 20kg in the space of a couple of months. The constant verbal bullying and threats (from everyone to everyone, not just me) was like music to my ears, specially when it continued all through the night.

    Not being properly inducted into either prison so I had no idea when I was breaking some obscure rule and could thus be punished (examples of my “offences”: writing home to ask for money for a toothbrush (‘bring the prison into disrepute’) and asking for prisoners to be allowed to attend the library if we didn’t want to line up at the canteen (‘inciting a riot’ – I kid you not)) just added to the holiday camp atmosphere.

    Tell you what, how about I pop round and tell you exactly what I think of narrow minded ignorant hate-filled troglodytes, then you can take a free shot. I’ll press charges and you can find out the reality for yourself for a few months? No? Then I suggest you shut up on subjects about which you clearly know nothing.

  75. Fred111 76

    Hey Rex…

    Is this the “not me, i’m innocent, and a perfect citizen to boot” dribble that the court system loves to lap up??? Boo farkin hoo

    So you gonna be a naughty boy and go back????? Sounds like you haven’t learnt a bloody thing! Keep ya toothbrush handy as you’ll be needing it again soon!

    What I mean is: Do the crime, do the time. If you had a bad experience in prison then hopefully it’s done it’s job, for you. Your “attacker” would no doubt think he had a fun day.

    IrishBill says: Fred. You’re banned.

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