Little proposes radical shake up of the Criminal Justice system

Written By: - Date published: 11:39 am, February 24th, 2018 - 152 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, crime, labour, Media, Politics, prisons, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

 

Andrew Little is proposing a radical change of approach to the Criminal Justice system.

From David Fisher in the Herald:

Minister of Justice Andrew Little has laid out a vision for criminal justice reform which sees sentencing law relaxed and a rejection of “tough on crime”-style politics.

His comments during an interview with the NZ Herald have been likened by one leading academic as the boldest political move in criminal justice since former Minister of Justice Ralph Hanan, who saw the death penalty abolished in 1961.

Little said “so-called law-and-order” policies have been a 30-year failure and locking up more people with longer sentences hasn’t made New Zealand safer.

“New Zealand needs to completely change the way criminal justice works,” he said. “It is a big challenge we are facing. It’s not an issue that’s been a short time in the making.

He said the rapid rise in prison numbers “follows 30 years of public policy-making, public discourse, that says we need tougher sentences, need more sentencing, need people serving longer sentences and I think, frankly, criminalising more behaviour.

“One of the major challenges is to turn around public attitudes – to say that what we have been doing for the last 30 years in criminal justice reform actually isn’t working. Our violent criminal offending is going up.”

Little wants a”national conversation” to air new ideas and is planning to hold a criminal justice summit which would seek out a range of views and inform the public.

While the failings of the current system is something that has been known for some time, it is rarely acknowledged at a political level but is an important first step towards fixing the problem.

The Criminal Bar Association has welcomed Little’s comments.  From a press release:

The Criminal Bar Association of New Zealand strongly supports the Minister of Justice Andrew Little’s willingness to consider that “Law and Order” policies have not achieved the objectives sought.

The CBA President Len Andersen has said “Minister Little has recognised the rapid rise in prison numbers reflects a failure of punitive penal policy over the last 30 years. The unnecessary mass incarceration of New Zealanders should be a concern to all New Zealanders.”

Those who work in the criminal law know first-hand some of the disastrous consequences of the high levels of incarceration in NZ. Our crime rates are broadly similar to other countries, yet our imprisonment rate is much higher than other OECD nations (we incarcerate 220 prisoners per 100,000). It costs $900 million a year to imprison 10,000 inmates at $90,000 a year and any reduction in this spending frees money for more productive uses.

The CBA also commended Minister Little’s frank acknowledgement that the disproportionate numbers of Maori in prison – more than 50% of the population – revealed systemic problems.

Cabinet is shortly to decide on whether or not to build a new 3,000 bed “mega prison” at Waikeria.  The decision about the mega prison will be an acid test for the new Government.  Does it invest huge resources into a facility that is an acknowledgement of failure or does it try something different?

Again from David Fisher in the Herald:

It’s being called Labour’s first great test as Government – signing off on a $1 billion mega prison that will allow our overflowing prison population to expand even further.

The problem is the nation’s finest academic minds on criminal justice issues are warning it will have impacts that directly contradict all the promises made by Corrections minister Kelvin Davis when he was in Opposition.

 In an open letter, 32 leading academics have urged the Government to reject the mega prison.

They warn the prison ignores international best practice, will lead to increased criminal offending, will be inhumane and “will undermine Prime Minister (Jacinda) Ardern’s Waitangi Day commitments and intensify the mass imprisonment of Māori”.

It comes as the Labour-NZ First government approaches a critical deadline with a paper coming to Cabinet early next month – and possibly next week – to seek approval for a massive expansion programme for Waikeria Prison in Waikato.

A decision to go ahead and expand the prison to hold up to 3000 inmates is expected to put our nation’s penal policy on a track at odds with Labour’s election promises.

But in making the decision, Cabinet will have to balance changes hoped to reduce prison numbers and the expected political damage around inmates who would otherwise be locked up carrying out high-profile crimes.

New Zealand’s incarceration rate, particularly of Maori is a travesty.  Even Bill English realises this, at least the fiscal implications of the swelling prison muster.  In 2016 he was reported as saying that the increase in prisoner numbers posed as big a risk to the economy as the possibility of a change in world interest rates.

But the possibility of a mature public discussion on the need for change appear to be slim.

Simon O’Connor has released this press release concerning the current prisoner population and is suggesting that proposals for change are “ideological” and are putting the public at risk.  He said this:

The Government continues to have its head in the sand over the rising prison population and its refusal to admit a new prison is urgently needed is putting public safety at risk, National’s Corrections spokesperson Simon O’Connor says.

“With only 300 prison beds left and the Government no closer to making a decision on whether to continue the previous Government’s plan to build a new prison at Waikeria, New Zealanders have a right to be concerned for their safety.

“There is no denying the prison population is rising fast and these criminals have to be put somewhere. The Police Commissioner today revealed that capacity is so tight that remanded and sentenced criminals are having to be held in police cells.

“But Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis continues to put his own ideology ahead of public safety. He appears to be ignoring his own officials’ forecasts which show the urgent need for a new prison.

We could have a mature political discussion about how the current prison system is not working.  Or National can use the issue to rark up public unease.  Three guesses what is going to happen.

152 comments on “Little proposes radical shake up of the Criminal Justice system”

  1. Antoine 1

    Well, in all fairness, if the prison doesnt get built and there is even a short term rise in the prison muster, it’s going to be a bit awkward.

    Also, I’m struggling to see the incarceration rate as the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the serious crime rate (which by all means lets strive to bring down). Incarceration is just a consequence.

    A.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      The prison won’t be built for years even if it is approved. National should wear this current crisis. They needed to either plan better or relax the bail laws.

      • Antoine 1.1.1

        > National should wear this current crisis

        Well they’re not gonna, so Labour needs to do something sensible, which may involve building some prison beds

        • mickysavage 1.1.1.1

          How does Labour complete a 3,000 bed prison that has not even be designed yet in 3 months? They are good but not that good.

          • Antoine 1.1.1.1.1

            I’m not asking for anything unreasonable, but I just suspect Labour may find it advisable to get to work on new prison facilities of some description, obviously they’ll take a while to complete

            A.

          • Sacha 1.1.1.1.2

            I understood the Nats’ plan this govt has inherited was to extend the existing Waikeria prison by another 1000 beds. Lucrative for some.

            • Antoine 1.1.1.1.2.1

              That’s the one. Mickey was suggesting the expansion should not go ahead, and I was saying what happens if the prisons overcrowd as a result.

              A.

          • Nic the NZer 1.1.1.1.3

            Hire a camp ground and setup a tent Prison?

          • timeforacupoftea 1.1.1.1.4

            mickysavage said “How does Labour complete a 3,000 bed prison that has not even be designed yet in 3 months? They are good but not that good”.

            My thinking on that mickysavage it will be exactly the same way as they will build the new hospital in Dunedin.

            Perhaps 13,000 prisoners could build both the hospital and prison in a few months over the 3 month deadline.

          • Nick K 1.1.1.1.5

            How does Labour complete a 3,000 bed prison that has not even be designed yet in 3 months?

            I guess the same way they are going to build 100,000 houses.

            They aren’t. And were never going to.

            • patricia bremner 1.1.1.1.5.1

              Nick K even National supporters have praised this Government’s ability to plan and initiate.

              Some projects have longer start-up procedures. To imply this Government is making empty promises LOL .. he he!! Look to Bridges et al!!

        • Shona 1.1.1.2

          Or repeal and re write the Bail Act which is the main source of the problem. Along with plea bargaining and the Evidence Act. All of the American style crap that has infested and derailed our Justice sytem during John Key’s punitive anti democratic tenure. Judith Collins was the Justice Minister who implemented the changes so she and her private prison owning friends could have a steady stream of inmates for their investments. People are being incarcerated for misdemeanors. FFS!

        • reason 1.1.1.3

          Everyone should be reminded of how Judith Collins used fake police statistics … to claim how wonderful and effective she was as a police minister.

          Has she ever apologized for this falsehood?????

      • reason 1.1.2

        The easiest thing to do and what is politically called the ‘low hanging fruit’, for lowering serious violent crime ……………. is to lower the amount of Alcohol Abuse in our macho society.

        One of Nationals first ‘Dirty Politics’ hit jobs was against the Alcohol Law review and its recommendations ….

        John Key, Judith Collins, Whale Oil, Amy Adams all came out battling …. and protecting the Alcohol drug industry.

        Nationals work has us leading the developed world for serious domestic violence ….. and they would rather build a new prison than do anything about it.

      • patricia bremner 1.1.3

        Thank you for this interesting thought provoking post.

    • Robert Boesnach 1.2

      The root problem is not the soaring crime rate but rather socio economic issues.. or in plain language.. poverty, inequality and alienation.. so thats where we need to start. We will never fix anything without dealing with the causes first.. Naturally (sadly) a New Zealanders first impulse is to punish… not fix!

      • Incognito 1.2.1

        You’re quite right but for quite a few punish=fix.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.2.2

        “The root problem is not the soaring crime rate but rather socio economic issues.. or in plain language.. poverty, inequality and alienation..”

        100% agree. And this is the area where Labour is tiptoeing around and doing very little so far. We need a large shift of wealth and resources from the few very rich, to the majority. That would greatly reduce the crime rate I believe.

        Providing more effective alternatives to prison for offenders is just one way that some of this shifting wealth and resource could be used.

    • Korero Pono 1.3

      “I’m struggling to see the incarceration rate as the root of the problem. The root of the problem is the serious crime rate (which by all means lets strive to bring down). Incarceration is just a consequence”

      Incarceration reinforces criminal behaviour, which explains New Zealand’s high recidivism rate. I would suggest there is a correlation between incarceration and the ‘serious’ crime rate. Prison is a school for criminals, where the less hardened have no choice but to become hardened, join gangs for protection and go on to work really hard at reentering the criminal ‘justice’ system.

      Kids as young as 18 are forced into more serious crime in those places to survive…unless you have been into those spaces, you have no idea what people become to survive.

      Incarceration is a part of the overall problem that leads to what you call ‘serious crime’. There is no one factor involved but start throwing into that mix things like racial profiling, poverty, poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, systemic racism, illiteracy and a lifetime of abuse, neglect and trauma. You might start to realise that incarceration is a large problem that simply reinforces criminal thinking. We should be rehabilitating, providing early intervention and therapeutic services to the majority and save prison for the minority of serious offenders.

  2. aom 2

    The cheapest solution might be to build secure facilities to house the Sensible Sentencing Trust and fellow travelers. That way they won’t have to be confronted by criminals and the majority of law abiding citizens who don’t subscribe to the ‘lock em up’ mentality.

    • Antoine 2.1

      > the majority of law abiding citizens who don’t subscribe to the ‘lock em up’ mentality

      You sure about that?

      ‘Tough on crime’ wins votes for a reason

      A.

      • adam 2.1.1

        Because crime is a emotive issue, and propaganda works best when it emotive.

        Politicians going for votes use propaganda, so crime is a easy topic for propagandist willing to manipulate emotions for votes.

        • Antoine 2.1.1.1

          Quite, and it’s pretty successful too, because quite a lot of law abiding citizens subscribe to the ‘lock em up’ mentality

          A.

  3. Pete 3

    If Collins gets to be National leader she will make the call for exponentially expanding prisons. Point of difference, hard-arsed approach and appearances and all that.

    Then David Seymour will come on board with the charter schools all going vanGuard with jackboots and uniforms to produce the fodder to be the Guards and wardens.

  4. patricia bremner 4

    There is another option. Review all aspects, taking an overview to meet the wish to rehabilitate.

    Build the new prison/s with rehabilitation in mind. Revamp where necessary. Smaller prisons may meet the need better.

    Close old unsuitable prisons, as the new one/s come on line.

    Look at the laws and ways to support criminals who offend for mental health, or addiction problems. Make necessary changes.

    Run a Public Information and Education Programme concurrently , building infrastructure accessible to individuals and families, needing intervention.

    Create an Education policy for prisoners. for personal growth and skills attainment.

    Train more personnel to work with families supporters and the convicted.

    Create support communities, as with integration of migrants, as a part of rehabilitation/home detention/ community exposure.

    Celebrate rehabilitation, and provide paid community work to continue skill building and support moving to independence.

    The money currently spent should be systematically transferred as new systems come on line. A ten to twenty year timeline. Just my view.

    • Antoine 4.1

      Lots of good stuff there

    • Stunned mullet 4.2

      Great stuff Patricia – can’t find fault with any of those suggestions.

    • DoublePlusGood 4.3

      And legalise drugs, as dealing with that is also gumming up the whole justice system.

    • alwyn 4.4

      Your ideas could really have been taken from Bill English’s approach. It is one he advocated from about 2011 onwards and stepped up after he became PM in 2016.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11773121
      It was also adopted by ACT’s David Seymour shortly afterward.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11805590
      Isn’t it a shame that Little, Andrew wasn’t willing to come out in support when he was Opposition leader? Now he is going to adopt most of the ideas and pretend they are his own. What a waste of more than a year in which we could have got started on fixing things. If Labour had been supporting the ideas when Bill first brought them up, instead of Little simply opposing for the sake of opposing, we could have seen a great deal of progress being achieved already.
      Instead we will probably end up going ahead with the monstrous prison, which Bill English, at least, was opposed to.
      Why did Little have to so pig-headedly oppose good ideas, just because someone else had suggested them?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.4.1

        …which makes it even more disgusting and egregious that the National Party continues to advocate for the “tough on crime” private prison bonanza.

        Please link to “Little opposing the idea”, just so I can reassure myself that you aren’t ‘mistaken’ about it.

        • alwyn 4.4.1.1

          Have a look at this fairly typical speech by Andrew Little on the subject
          https://www.parliament.nz/mi/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/50HansS_20130703_00000250/little-andrew-bail-amendment-bill-second-reading
          In particular have a look at the first paragraph.
          “The truth is that the only real toughening of our sentencing laws and bail laws in criminal justice happened under the last Labour Government. We have a lot to thank the Hon Phil Goff for for that work ………”
          That was from before he became leader but his spots have never changed.

          • Antoine 4.4.1.1.1

            > The truth is that the only real toughening of our sentencing laws and bail laws in criminal justice happened under the last Labour Government. We have a lot to thank the Hon Phil Goff for for that work

            Woops!

            A.

          • Craig H 4.4.1.1.2

            Must have had his Road to Damascus moment since then…

          • patricia bremner 4.4.1.1.3

            From your comments Alwyn you believe in small Government and smaller Public Services.

            You may be happy to have private prisons, but they are expensive and have to be monitored by public servants to be sure they follow the rules.

            Serco failed here and in Australia. My tenant is rehabilitation is key to change.

            You may be right that Andrew supported Goff when he was a rookie.

            Since then he has grown in understanding and matured in his attitudes to prisons and convictions, because he is a thoughtful individual who considers all aspects of his new role.

            • alwyn 4.4.1.1.3.1

              “My tenant is rehabilitation”
              You really don’t want to admit that on this blog.
              You shouldn’t admit you are a landlord. They are all totally evil. Saying such things here will see you cast into outer darkness.
              I think you mean tenet. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that, even though I make such mistakes all the time myself. I always blame predictive text).

              “You may be right that Andrew supported Goff”. Wow, that is a niggardly admission. If Little wasn’t supporting Goff’s views in that speech what was he doing?

              I am inclined to say that since then he has grown in understanding that English has it right and he has simply decided to take English’s ideas and claim them, without attribution, as his own.
              Totally reprehensible in Academia but pretty normal behaviour in Politics.
              Your opinion of Little as “a thoughtful individual who considers all aspects of his new role” is, however, a totally risible one.

              • patricia bremner

                Sorry for the malapropism.

                I know Andrew, so my comment isn’t risible.

                What is ludicrous is to claim those ideas as belonging to one person.
                They have been widely discussed in forums in NZ.

                You always try “One-up-man ship”, It is what you enjoy. Whatever floats your boat Alwyn. This is about the judicial system… not us.

      • patricia bremner 4.4.2

        Alwyn, It is easy to say it. This Government as a team plan to do it. Huge difference.

        Andrew did not stop National, they couldn’t agree.
        They chose private prisons.

        • alwyn 4.4.2.1

          “This Government as a team plan to do it”
          Really? All I see is that he plans another “conversation”.

          “Little wants a ”national conversation” to air new ideas and is planning to hold a criminal justice summit which would seek out a range of views and inform the public.”

          What on earth do private prisons have to do with anything? Our problem is that there are far too many people who get jailed and that they come out at the end without any rehabilitation at all. It doesn’t matter a damn who is actually running the prison.

          Personally I wonder if the main problem is that most of our prisoners are functionally illiterate when they go in and remain so all the time they are there.
          Can some lawyer give an opinion on this? I haven’t really had anything to do with trying to educate prisoners for about 30 years.

          • DoublePlusGood 4.4.2.1.1

            Because, obviously, if you have private prisons then prisoners become a commodity, a product. That creates all sort of perverse incentives to create more prisoners for more profit.

            • alwyn 4.4.2.1.1.1

              “That creates all sort of perverse incentives to create more prisoners for more profit.”.

              Even if that were true, and I don’t accept it, it doesn’t mean a thing.
              The people who would make any such profit would be the owners of the firms that run the prisons. Unless they also owned the Police force, and employed all the Judges they would be in no position to “create more prisoners”.
              Just how do you think you would be able to arrange that?

              The best way to reduce the number of prisoners, if your supposition is correct is to make sure the profits for prison operators go to those who have the lowest recidivism among those who finish their sentences.. The less prisoners who re-offend the more you are paid.

              That would of course be the opposite incentive where the State operates the prisons and all the staff are public servants. he only way they would gain would be if more prisoners meant more staff and greater opportunities of promotion. Make sure they re-offend so they will keep you in a job.
              There that is just as sensible as your proposal isn’t it?
              Or just as silly, of course.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Just how do you think you would be able to arrange that?

                Google is your friend.

                A longtime judge has been ordered to spend nearly three decades in prison …

                • alwyn

                  Yeh, yeh.
                  I will believe almost anything in a Country where a lot of the Judges are actually elected.
                  Now get real. How do you think you could arrange that IN NEW ZEALAND?
                  There may have been other cases of malfeasance by Judicial Officers in New Zealand but the only one I can remember was a Magistrate in Wellington (I think) years and years ago who committed perjury in his divorce case.

                  There appear to be lots of crooks among practising lawyers of course. I have sometimes wondered whether the percentage of lawyers who turn out to be crooks exceeds that in any other occupation. I have personally known a handful. I was surprised every time.
                  Mickysavage may have a more informed opinion, although he probably would be more sensible than to comment.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The reason we haven’t seen this level of corruption is because private prisons have not managed to gain a significant foothold here.

                    In the criminal justice system, that is. The National Party has been selling legislation forever.

                    • alwyn

                      And I suppose that you don’t see forcing charter schools to close is selling out to the Labour Parties bosses in the PPTA and the NZEI?
                      Yeh, right.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      They’re not being forced to close.

                      You have no argument that’s based on reality, let alone pedagogy, so you have to resort to smears against teachers, implying that they have a corrupt relationship with the government.

                      That’s on you.

                    • alwyn

                      ” implying that they have a corrupt relationship with the government.”.
                      Don’t be so silly. I never said it was “corrupt” as you term it.
                      The Labour Party was founded in 1916 by the Union movement in order to try and achieve, in Government, the things that the Union movement wanted.
                      That is how the party started and the Unions see no reason at all why the practices shouldn’t continue.
                      You are the only one throwing unfounded claims of corruption around.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    So nothing substantive then. The NZLP, the Greens, and NZF all have similar education policies because unions, eh.

                    And your smears just fell over.

                    • alwyn

                      If you say so, old chap.
                      It does seem a bit mean, I agree, to duel with an armless opponent like you. Never mind, most of your preferred party MPs are just as useless as you are..
                      As usual you know you have lost the battle but refuse to admit it.
                      Did you look at the link I provided on Little Andrews flip-flop on harsh sentencing and limits on bail?
                      Or do you refuse to believe it because only National are nasties?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      😆

                      Would you like a little white flag to go with your ad hominem surrender? The fact that NZF and the Greens have virtually the same education policies as the NZLP really showed up your argument for what it is: bile.

                • xanthe

                  Here is the wikipedia article re “cash for kids”

                  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Ciavarella

              • The Chairman

                “Just how do you think you would be able to arrange that?”

                Via large donations to politicians and political parties. Who knows, they may strengthen bail conditions.

                • alwyn

                  Do you have any evidence for this?
                  After all large donations have to be declared, don’t they?
                  Come on, you made the statement. Now justify it.

                  • The Chairman

                    I was responding to your question “how do you think…”

                    Thus, I have no evidence of this. It was merely my thoughts.

                    If one wanted to hide a large donation, one would make many small donations that don’t have to be declared.

                    • alwyn

                      Ok. That really is what you said.
                      However your last sentence is wrong. You have to declare the total amount you have received from a party, or group of associated parties even if it is given as a number of small amounts, if the total exceeds the reporting level.

    • Pete 4.5

      Good positive ideas. Still a bit ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’?

      Can we construct a society where less people offend in the first place?

      • patricia bremner 4.5.1

        Hi Pete Thanks. Yes I agree an improved society with income homes health and education sorted would remove many social pressures and crimes.

        This post was discussing the Judicial System, so I confined myself to that, much as I was tempted to digress.

        I taught in a low socioeconomic area for 23 years, so I saw the effects of deprivation, and how that section of the community were closely policed by police social services the visiting teacher(truancy) and the press!!

        • Pete 4.5.1.1

          Then you would have experienced the calls for cutting RTLB services to help kids while at the same time putting more money into building prisons.

  5. Incognito 5

    During Thursday’s select committee hearing he [National corrections spokesman Simon O’Connor] asked Bush [Police Commissioner] whether more cops would mean more arrests, and more people being put in over-stretched prisons.

    Bush said having more cops on the streets could lead to a small increase in arrests, however, the prevention first model, which the police operated under, meant the extra officers would likely stop crime happening in the first place.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/101668639/police-commissioner-tells-minister-1800-extra-cops-will-cost-about-252m-says-he-can-deliver-on-new-recruits

    One solution is to catch fewer criminals.

    This happens when fewer crimes are committed in the first place.

    More police officers could and should (!) act as a preventative measure, a deterrent, rather than as only better and more ‘fishing net’ to catch more crims. More police presence in local communities and re-establishing local community constables together with more and better ‘social control’ would help IMO.

    Behind and/or above that immediate level people need to have better and viable alternatives, better training & education, better housing, better work, better use of their time and a more meaningful existence and engagement with society in general, starting in and with local communities.

    Simply building more and larger prisons and/or recruiting more cops by themselves will have unintended consequences as is often the case with simplistic, reductionists, and short-term ‘solutions’.

    Thank God we’re not (in) the US of A …

    • The Chairman 5.1

      In 2002 there was 576 people per one police officer. In 2009 there was 501people per one police officer. That’s an increase of 1744 officers. From 6909 in 2002 to 8653 in 2009.

      Crime resolution rate in 2002 was 41.91%. In 2009 it was 47.77. Suggesting their was an increase in arrests.

      Assaults made on police and people fleeing police at high speed shows police presence is no guarantee of them being a deterrent.

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        Is that really all you took from my comment and the two key players whom I quoted?

        Nobody said anything about “guarantees” as such …

        But while we’re on the subject, are you suggesting that increased police numbers and presence is or can be counter-productive? And if so, what do you propose they should do differently?

        As usual, you express a (i.e. your) concern but offer next to nothing in terms of constructive criticism.

        I’m afraid I’m not interested in playing your game. Goodbye.

        • The Chairman 5.1.1.1

          That’s what I call a hit and run.

          As for your previous comment, I was providing some figures.

          And as for the remark, it shows that not all find the police a deterrent.

          • red-blooded 5.1.1.1.1

            Your figures are about an increase in resolutions – ie, the percentage of complaints that led to an arrest, warning, fine or some other kind of resolution. Not all resolutions are arrests, but even if they were, your figures simply show that policing was more effective in terms of finding alleged perpetrators when more police were provided. Good – that’s one of the purposes of the police force. If you’ve made a complaint you want it resolved.

            It’s harder to measure deterrence (proving causation as opposed to correlation is complex) but the reported crime rate has been dropping for many years (since about 2009, in fact). Despite this, the incarceration rate has continued to climb, and that’s an issue of real concern.

            • The Chairman 5.1.1.1.1.1

              “Your figures are about an increase in resolutions – ie, the percentage of complaints that led to an arrest, warning, fine or some other kind of resolution. Not all resolutions are arrests…”

              To be given a warning, fine, or some other resolution, generally comes after one is arrested.

              “Your figures simply show that policing was more effective in terms of finding alleged perpetrators when more police were provided. Good – that’s one of the purposes of the police force. If you’ve made a complaint you want it resolved.”

              Indeed.

              However, the problem for Labour is it doesn’t reconcile too well for their aim of reducing prison numbers, as more arrests will also see more (than currently) go to jail.

              As usual they seem to be walking that fine line, hard on crime by introducing more police, soft on crime by attempting to reduce incarcerations. Therefore, risk disappointing both sides of the debate.

              Violent crime is on the increase, thus one assumes people are serving longer sentences. Coupled with those denied bail, or parole.

              • red-blooded

                Actually, there’s been quite a move in NZ to “pre-charge warnings” which don’t involve an arrest. There are also other alternative resolutions (eg formal apologies) that don’t involve an arrest.

                As for the rest of your comment, you seem to have missed the point of this whole thread. Little and the government are actively looking for ways to decrease the rates of imprisonment in NZ, even if resolution rates rise. Resolution doesn’t have to mean prison. It’ll include issues like alternative resolutions, restorative justice, electronic monitoring, shorter sentences, better focus on rehabilitation and community connection while in jail, better access to bail and parole…etc. It’s big, it’ll be complex, it’ll take a number of steps and it’ll be open to attack by the simplistic “lock ’em up” brigade, but it’s well overdue and it’s bloody good news.

                • The Chairman

                  People can be and are arrested without charge.

                  Yes, I’m aware of what Little is trying to do. And I’m also aware their are alternatives to jail. Nevertheless, increasing police numbers, thus those that can potentially go to jail, further compounds his current situation.

                  While I admire their effort to make changes, I don’t trust Labour, so I’ll wait and see what they come up with.

                  It’s disappointing there isn’t more focus on poverty and inequality coming from the Labour camp, as this is where a lot of the change required needs to be focused. And we’re not seeing that. In fact, they refused to increase core benefit rates. So it’s not looking promising in that respect.

                  It is big and complex and there is no one shoe fits all solution.

                  If someone avoids jail and goes off and kills or rapes, there will be a public outcry, hence they have little room for error. And juggling more potential inmates doesn’t make his work any easier.

                • McFlock

                  I see that TC’s missed the point – “resolutions” includes non-court resolutions, let alone non-custodial sentences.

                  Looking at the NZ.stat justice levels from the court system vs police recorded offences between 2002 and 2009, less than half of “resolved” police offences reach court, and ten percent of those receive imprisonment of any length.

                  So every increase in the number of resolved offences would mean about 4% of those offences would receive an imprisonment sentence if there were no change to resolution, charging, or sentencing practises. Which might affect prison numbers if there were no changes to any other factor that affected prison numbers, like parole conditions.

              • patricia bremner

                More policing of digital crime, fraud and scamming are newer areas needing personnel.

                Bringing back Community Constables and School Educational Officers would be excellent.

                Children exposed to Road Safety, Dog handlers Squad and Community Police in class and during Gala Days, felt more able to talk freely to officers, and saw them as part of the community.

                • The Chairman

                  Increase core benefit rates, introduce the living wage as the minimum wage and create more full-time employment opportunities. This, IMO will make a vast difference.

  6. Ad 6

    Shine on Andrew.
    Shine on.

    • patricia bremner 6.1

      Yes. I am sure that with a decent man like Andrew in charge, this will happen.
      We need to guard against the attack dogs of this world. They can and do do extreme harm, by using fear and bias to promote their agenda.

      Judith Collins and Mark Mitchell may smile, but they believe they are superior and offer concrete solutions. Comes from a bunker mentality.
      (horrible puns )

  7. red-blooded 7

    I’m really encouraged by Little raising this issue as a priority. It’ll take some real courage and leadership, especially given that it’s likely to be an easy button for the whoever the new Nat leadership team is to push, but what we’re doing now ain’t working and it’s got to change. Kia kaha, Andrew!

  8. xanthe 8

    This is what we voted for…. lets do it!

  9. cleangreen 9

    “Little said “so-called law-and-order” policies have been a 30-year failure and locking up more people with longer sentences hasn’t made New Zealand safer.”

    Yes that is true so MS.

    National failed us as usual so change is needed.

  10. burt 10

    Start at 1:17 and you’ll see Labours plan plain and simple.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      As noted earlier, right wing sub-criminals (ie: they are lower on the social scale than criminals) will do their best to undermine anything that will reduce the crime rate. Unless it’s juking the stats whenever they sleaze their sub-criminal way into government, that is.

      Although it must also be noted that “Burt” is hardly the best they have to offer.

      Let’s all stop for a moment and feel sorry for Burt.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 10.1.1

        White collar criminals do not get prosecuted as they know the system and have colleagues in the system to protect them. It the Maori’s smoking dope, drinking piss and stealing Pinky Bars from the gas stations that are the real menace to society ?

    • The Fairy Godmother 10.2

      Nope its not but no doubt this is how those with very poor comprehension and a complete lack of empathy or compassion will see it.

  11. Tanz 11

    So, he is going to go soft on crime, which means more murder and mayhem on our streets, with whole communities at risk. Crime in NZ is already high, why make it all easier. I can’t imagine NZ First agreeing, nor the majority of the NZ public. But hey, he won’t care that he has no true mandate. But we would not want to oppress those that choose crime, would we, whilst the rest all behave. Three strikes works and the public loved it. Huge vote loser, especially as more victims get created through this madness.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      He anticipated and answered your rote-learned criticism before you repeated it.

      “Tough on crime” penal polices increase the crime rate.

      Yes, they do. Do you actually want a reduced crime rate or not? Because right now you’re advocating for policies that increase crime. Yes, you are.

      I for one have had a gutsful of knuckledragging brainless crap that increases the crime rate. Pull your head in and get out of the way.

    • patricia bremner 11.2

      Tanz, yes indeed, lets go hard on crime to support Judith and Mark to lock them up in private prisons, to make sociopaths rich.

      No! Let’s think instead, as it is a requirement of change progress and humanity.

    • Brigid 11.3

      Where’s the evidence that ‘three strikes’ worked? Where’s the evidence that the public liked it?

    • DoublePlusGood 11.4

      Sorry, where exactly are all these people lining up to commit murder and mayhem?

  12. David Mac 12

    I think the deterrent factor is an important consideration.

    I suggest that getting locked up doesn’t deter most criminals from committing their crimes. The angry drunk man that thumps his wife, before he lets fly, I don’t think the thought of being locked up enters his red hazed mind. The guy with the opportunity to sell little bags of meth…does he think ‘I better not do this because if caught I’ll get locked up?’ The pedophile inviting a child into his home, is he considering the potential judicial ramifications?

    I think we should be aiming for a society whereby doing the right thing by each other comes from a deep-seated respect and love for each other, not the questionably effective prospect of incarceration.

    I think it’s impossible to nurture and grow a sense of love and respect for others in somebody by locking them up in a cage.

    • patricia bremner 12.1

      David Mac, community, this is a core value needed. What is important? True consideration of human needs to thrive. We know these … they have not been provided. We have become individualistic.

      We are so brainwashed into believing separation is an answer, it is ingrained.

      Community building and inclusive thinking is needed, then many crimes would not happen, and their causes would be gone.

      Those who have criminal behaviours could be assisted, as they would be in a system not overwhelmed by social ills.

      This sounds simplistic, but growing healthy thriving communities filled with excellent governence and considerate thinking citizens requires planning and systems devised to attain this.

      Some societies are closer to this than ours, and borrowing successful ideas for our own culture to add to our own innovative thinking is needed.

      I hope Andrew succeeds and carries out his plans. Lets all support this.

    • BM 12.2

      The guy with the opportunity to sell little bags of meth…does he think ‘I better not do this because if caught I’ll get locked up

      He or she does weigh up the risk to reward ratio, if the reward is high and the risk is considered low enough then it’s worth it.

      • David Mac 12.2.1

        I disagree BM, usually you’ll find a meth salesman is addicted to his product, their powers of reason compromised.

        I think the most severe punishment possible would be the arresting officer taking the alleged dealer outside and shooting them. Just like they do in the Philippines. This extreme measure has not eradicated drugs from their society.

        • Stuart Munro 12.2.1.1

          Deportation for non-citizens might be a good toughness measure. Meth is not so much a locally based crime as it was in the days of homebake. Are we doing so well that we also have to rehabilitate foreign criminals? The moment cost of imprisonment enters the picture ‘send them home’ becomes a valid response to serious exogenous crime.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.1.1

            Yep. Bugger this locking them up and then sending them back – just send them back. The country that birthed them can deal with them. They can carry out the sentence or not – their choice.

        • BM 12.2.1.2

          If a dude with no qualifications can support his habit and make thousands a day then he may consider selling meth a good “career” option.

          What’s the alternative, struggling to survive on the dole? or doing some soul-destroying job for minimum wage?

          How do you discourage that sort of attitude?

          • UncookedSelachimorpha 12.2.1.2.1

            “What’s the alternative, struggling to survive on the dole? or doing some soul-destroying job for minimum wage?”

            You answered your own questions – we need to create much more opportunity. Increase welfare so people aren’t struggling when they need assistance. And increase the minimum wage.

            • BM 12.2.1.2.1.1

              You answered your own questions – we need to create much more opportunity. Increase welfare so people aren’t struggling when they need assistance. And increase the minimum wage.

              That’s not going to happen, we’re going to have to be doing seriously well over the next couple of decades to maintain the status quo.

              Expect to see AI and robotics make serious inroads into the workforce which will put a huge strain on government budgets.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                “That’s not going to happen, we’re going to have to be doing seriously well over the next couple of decades to maintain the status quo.

                Expect to see AI and robotics make serious inroads into the workforce which will put a huge strain on government budgets.”

                Not at all, it has little to do with how well we do, but with which policies we choose. It is our choice if we want to have most people struggling, or not. We are a wealthy country and do not need to grow the economy at all, for everyone to be fine. Inequality is what is tearing NZ apart. The poorest half in NZ have less than 5% of the total wealth, while the richest 10% have 60% of the total wealth. So the poorest half could have double what they currently have, if the richest 10% had just 8.5% less (e.g. Someone like John Key would only have $91.5m instead of $100m).

                • BM

                  Accountants and globalism make that a pipe dream, this is the way it is and that is the way it will probably stay.

                  A more effective approach would be to encourage wealthier people to be more philanthropic you’re not going to get their money any other way.,

                  • UncookedSelachimorpha

                    “this is the way it is and that is the way it will probably stay.”

                    Only if we choose that. Could make the same defeatist statement about any problem – child abuse, road deaths, pollution etc etc.

                    “A more effective approach would be to encourage wealthier people to be more philanthropic you’re not going to get their money any other way.,”

                    That is precisely the way you can be sure of not getting their money. Remember, wealthy people are proven to be more selfish and antisocial than the average – you will need to do some gentle taking. You can get some of their wealth if you pass appropriate legislation.

              • Incognito

                That’s not going to happen, we’re going to have to be doing seriously well over the next couple of decades to maintain the status quo.

                … this is the way it is and that is the way it will probably stay.

                Excuse me? TINA, you say? BAU and preserve status quo?

                Do you realise that people like you actively & aggressively resist progressive reform and change and do everything they can to preserve status quo? Your assertions have zero credibility till you acknowledge your own bias and self-serving attitude of entitlement and right.

          • mac1 12.2.1.2.2

            The government is doing something, and a lot more needs to be done, to ensure legitimate businesses and workers are treated fairly alike. As here. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11998205 ‘”Tradies sentenced to jail for $1m tax evasion”.

            To recover full taxation payable will benefit all but the criminal. A level playing field will help legitimate and compliant companies compete and decent wages paid by employers should increase as a result.

            The halting of illegally hired and managed foreign labour should help in much the same way. As here. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/02/auckland-construction-site-sweep-uncovers-190-illegal-malaysian-workers.html

            https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/351153/illegal-malaysian-workers-deported

            Lax companies employ dodgy contractors who in turn undercut legitimate contractors doing everything by the book.
            Illegals don’t pay tax and are exploited by labour hire companies because they would work for less than local tradesmen. Often they are given only 30 hours work a week, leaving them to turn to cash jobs in order to get by. Basically victims of exploitation, they should be receiving support both from the government and from the employer in health and safety. This penalises fair employers.

            Not only is this third world practice here in New Zealand which is very wrong, but proper and fair practice should benefit all Kiwis with better wages and conditions, fairer opportunities for employers and increased government revenue to be spent in socially useful ways including business contracts for services, living wages paid and infrastructure built.

        • Incognito 12.2.1.3

          Powers of reason are almost always grossly exaggerated and overhyped when it comes to the general population; humans are emotional creatures, animals if you like, that have only recently emerged from their caves. Similarly, moral judgement is generally flawed & flaky – goes hand-in-hand with limited proper reasoning and being snivelling snotties. But most importantly, there’s growing lack of simple & basic consideration for fellow humans in our society. None of these are insurmountable problems and IMHO they all have the same root cause that is not fixed (in stone) but conditional upon the society and norms that we have created and are creating each and every day. And this ‘universal truth’ IMHO applies to everything human because everything is connected through cause & effect.

          • patricia bremner 12.2.1.3.1

            Some marvelous people out there do great and small things for no reward except they feel valued and happy. Like many, I enjoy the “Good Sorts” programme item on TV1. An example of community spirit in action.

      • Nope. They just think that they’re better than everyone else and won’t get caught.

        In other words, they’re psychopaths.

        Reminds me of a large political body and it’s clingons that’s still upset about the way the election ended.

  13. Tanz 13

    Yes, but at least being locked up stops the violent criminal from harming/maiming/killing another innocent victim. From a friend’s personal experience, I know how hard it is in NZ to actually get locked up anyway. Some criminals have eighty convictions or so before they do go to jail. Or do some people just prefer more violence and mayhem out there?

    • David Mac 13.1

      If a person has 80 convictions, mental illness aside, their society has failed them.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.2

      at least being locked up stops the violent criminal from harming/maiming/killing another innocent victim.

      So why do longer sentences and tough on crime policies increase the crime rate? This isn’t a trick question, although you probably won’t find the answer at the places you usually go for your lines.

      The Howard League isn’t a bad place to get a clue, not that I expect you to get one.

      • red-blooded 13.2.1

        And countries with more open prison systems, less reliance on prison sentences as outcomes for perpetrators and shorter sentences, with more active reintegration programmes have lower reoffending rates.

    • Craig H 13.3

      There are undoubtedly some people who need to be kept away from society for our safety, but that’s a relatively small number of people.

      Besides which, if international experience is clear that tough policies result in higher recidivism rates, why would we continue with a system which creates more crime and therefore more victims? Sure, the primary recipient of blame is the criminal, but surely politicians who support policies despite knowledge that they create more victims must be in for some sort of blame as well.

    • North 13.4

      More embarrassingly squealy ‘talking points’ from Right Wing Fantasist Tanz @ 11 above.

      Having actual knowledge (which RWF Tanz clearly does not) I’m certain it is utter bullshit that “Some criminals have eighty convictions or so before they do go to jail.”

      As I write I have in front of me an actual Ministry of Justice (standardised format throughout NZ) “Criminal and Traffic History”. It relates to a real live person. It runs to 3 pages and it contains 16 conviction entries. So, given standardised format, 80 convictions will run to 15 pages, give or take a couple.

      In 43 years of involvement with criminal law I think I’ve seen a 13 page record no more than once or twice a year, if that. Always, without exception, such records list many, many imprisonment sentences. You think about it it’s common sense really. 80 convictions and NEVER been sentenced to jail. Ha Ha Ha ! I suspect someone’s been looking at a spectacularly bad driver’s Demerit Points Infringement record.

      RWF Tanz is a credulous dupe or the “friend” from whom apparently this nonsense came is bullshitting big time. This the fearful, gullible human detritus Collins and ilk call out to.

      • mickysavage 13.4.1

        Agreed North.

        Speaking as someone with 33 years of experience in the Criminal Justice system I would say to Tarnz name me one person in that situation. Just one, any one will do.

    • patricia bremner 13.5

      Tanz, “Or do some people just prefer more violence and mayhem out there?”

      This implies that “Lock ’em up and throw away the key” policies lower crime rates.

      It also implies to try to change the system is endangering people.

      What is true?

      We have, through these very policies and stances created a time bomb of overcrowded underfunded systems that are currently failing.

      This has not worked for your friend or society, so time for change.

      The need is here, the Leader is clear. All strength to you Andrew Little.

    • The Chairman 13.6

      “Yes, but at least being locked up stops the violent criminal from harming/maiming/killing another innocent victim.”

      Clearly you are unaware of the harming/maiming/killing going on in our prisons.

      • Naki man 13.6.1

        You are confusing innocent victims with the scum that do these crimes.
        Good to see them on the receiving end for a change.

        • The Chairman 13.6.1.1

          Just because someone has a conviction and is serving time doesn’t mean they can’t become an innocent victim of future crime.

          We don’t send people to jail to be bashed, raped and killed. If that was the plan, we could save ourselves heaps of money by just taking them outside shooting them.

        • North 13.6.1.2

          Thank goodness the curdled ‘delight-in-vengeance’ displayed by know nothing Naki Man above has no place in our system. What a dolt. Bet he’s got it in him to be cruel to helpless members of the animal kingdom. Red flag much !

          • Naki man 13.6.1.2.1

            You are an idiot North, i despise animal cruelty.
            My sympathy is for victims of crime, not your criminal scum mates.

            • Incognito 13.6.1.2.1.1

              The alleged animal cruelty crossed a boundary or two and was completely unfounded and uncalled for IMO.

              Does it occur to you that convicted crims can also be victims, in a different sense? I mean, crims are not born crims, or even raised (as) crims, but some may have become crims through circumstances that you and I never have and will experience? Personally, I don’t believe that some people are intrinsically or essentially ‘bad’ or ‘evil’.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 13.6.1.3

          You support policies that create more crime. Don’t pretend to give a shit for victims: you’re an accessory to all the extra crimes that happen as a direct result of your sadistic whinging prejudice.

  14. David Mac 14

    ‘I smacked little Rachels bottom and loudly proclaimed “Don’t hit your sister.”

  15. Grafton Gully 15

    To David Mac at 12.
    The writer of Genesis knew the greed, disobedience and gullibility of men and their murderous instincts when resentful and threatened. More deep-seated I think than the “respect and love for each other” that you think I (and others) should be aiming for.

    To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

    “Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.

    It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.

    By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
    until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
    for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

    Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

    Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

    “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

    • David Mac 15.1

      Hi Grafton, I think I am my brothers keeper and in return I expect my brother to be there for me, that’s how mutual respect functions.

  16. Bruce 16

    From my experience , 4 yrs, Mt Eden, Rangipo, Hautu our prison system turns silly young men into hardend thugs. I saw how a foolish action and time in prison created monsters. Like good salesmen prison guards know repeat customers are the easiest to secure.
    Making the effort to rehabilitate oneself gives officers increased means to torture and they use it. For me it was yoga, toastmasters and further learning that helped. Leaving the yoga teacher locked in reception and cancelling the class was one of the games that delighted guards.
    I saw positive change in inmates involved in gardening , perhaps because its such a powerful demonstration of life in its simplest terms.
    The first step that I see in reforming prison would be to replace the thugs that raise through the ranks to be chief bully with educated social workers / psychologists that value rehabilitation and have the skills to positively guide the misdirected back into society.

  17. North 17

    Thanks, as says OAB, for those pearls of wisdom Bruce.

  18. Nick 18

    Good to hear from your experiences Bruce.

  19. CHCOff 19

    The U.S. prison system is a breeding ground for creating criminals and gangs, extremely dysfunctional, i’m assuming that is the direction National were wanting to go further down in the model they were wanting to follow ( i do not know but seems like not a bad guess).

    The better solution in New Zealand’s situation, would be a traditional thriving sports club/club room culture within the social fabric. That is the traditional breeding ground for a major component of community service, and a proportion of the current prison population would in likelihood be community leaders in such an societal environment.

    Independent and/or free/subsidized public sports clubs, in conjunction with govt rebates set at different tiers relative to individuals’ community engagement in sports clubs, for subscription to the telly channels sports channels, which are responsive in their coverage to levels of govt. rebates received in different areas.

  20. Tamati Tautuhi 20

    National have been following the USA Prison Business Model which has been an abject failure ?

    Neoliberalism at its finest ?

  21. R.P. Mcmurphy 21

    the justice system was hi-jacked by garth mcvicar and his claque and he should have been stopped in his tracks instead of the pandering to him that took place.
    Ever since Erving Goffmans pioneer work in the nineteen fifties it has been known that seven years is enough to institutionalise anyone. Of course there are some that should never be allowed out but the net result of the mcvicar thrust was to turn justice into an industry which needs constant investment from state taxes to provide profitability.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 21.1

      McVicar certainly used to get a lot of air time jumping up and down. However we never really seem to get to the root causes of the problem, and that is the breakdown of modern society. By design by the neoliberals and the NWO ?

      • greywarshark 21.1.1

        So true.
        Rangatahi Court, Whangarei starting. Fresh approach? Radionz.

        Apparently 15 of these Courts already.

  22. Tamati Tautuhi 22

    Why don’t we look at what has worked in say the Netherlands and Portugal and implement some changes ?

    “The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, trying to get a different result ?”

    Hopefully Andrew Little actually has the balls to do something constructive and is not all piss and wind like his adversary Crusher Collins ?

    • Tamati Tautuhi 23.1

      Agree 100% time for a complete overhaul of the prison system, having had family friends and acquaintances who have spent time in Her Majesty’s Hotels around the country, and of the indigenous creed, going to prison is not a big deal and is just part of life’s journey. To some people it is not a big deal and not a problem.

      It is the way their brains are wired ?

      • patricia bremner 23.1.1

        No, Tamati Tautuhi, Society currently targets the easily solved crime. ( Whereas richer well placed criminals use their wealth and contacts to dodge the law.)

        However, after a time abused targetted people believe “they deserve that”

        We have to change the way things are done or nothing will alter.

        Society has to agree how they fail people with bias fear and vengeance, instead of being fair knowledgeable and caring.

        Building a society which supports families and individuals to have all the necessary ingredients for taking part in society should be a government’s aim.

        When people “go wrong”, they should be helped with community sentences to encourage mahi for others as part of restorative justice, along with opportunities to learn another way. (depending on the crime of course.)

        This means more addiction services and mental health help. Many crimes should be part of the health service, where rehabilitation is the goal.

  23. greywarshark 24

    Have to comment on Little having a great little joke with us as he echoes the dog’s apparent wide smile.

  24. Thinking about Patricia’s many excellent posts on his thread – two premises and an idea.

    First, as others have said, we have to correct the gulf of inequality, to strive for a more just and equitable society so people don’t commit crimes.

    Second, we have to recognise that shutting people up in small boxes for long periods does nothing to rehabilitate them. As many people have pointed out, it only makes matters worse.

    So, an idea – lets make our prisons like academies, where prisoners are taught useful skills – like carpentry etc, so they can contribute when their sentence is over. Let’s have prisoners build pre-fab houses so the Coalition can meet it’s 100,000 house targets.

    We need to move away from the ‘punishment’ model and into a rehabilitation model from the very beginning.

    • greywarshark 25.1

      TonyV
      Yes, that is an excellent idea and we who have taken an interest in the prison process and the outcomes know that it has been on the boards for quite a while.
      Let’s. Do. It. Now>

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