When National came into power I thought that at least they had a relatively good policy on prisoner rehabilitation:
“At present, 43% of prisoners (and 65% of prisoners under 20) re-offend within a year of release. For too many criminals, a prison sentence is not an end to their offending just an enforced career break.
It is a waste of resources to let offenders serve their time without challenging them to change their behaviour, only to release them and throw them back into prison again when they reoffend.
That will mean more victims.
If we want to reduce crime rates, imprisonment should not be seen only as a punishment, but also an opportunity to rehabilitate a captive audience through work, drug, and alcohol treatment, and other programmes that offer alternatives to a life of crime.”
It sounds like good sensible stuff. National promised to:
Well that was then. And now that National is in power all those promises are out the window.
Far from expanding rehabilitation programmes, National has just taken the axe to one of the longest running and most successful programmes in the country.
For just $2.4 million a year, the Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society and its 500 volunteers help 25,000 inmates and ex-inmates with rehabilitation and readjustment each year. They provide a wide range of services that help to keep prisoners in touch with their communities and help them adjust on their return to the outside world. Their efforts help turn people away from crime and give them other opportunities.
All for the price of $2.4 million, just a rounding error for one of Steven Joyce’s white elephant motorways. Yet Judith Collins has cut the funding and that will kill PARS.
There seems to be no reason for Collins’ actions except for sheer bloody vindictiveness.
Without help getting back into normal life, more ex-cons will end up on the dole and more will end up getting into trouble, committing crimes, and going back to prison.
For the sake of $2.4 million, we’ll end up bearing a greater cost at many different levels.
That’s National for you. They haven’t changed and they’re not ‘pragmatists’ who do what works. They’re ideologues. When it comes to crime all they believe in doing is putting the boot in harder even though it doesn’t stop crime. They will even cancel funding for programmes that do stop crime and successfully rehabilitate people out of sheer spite and blind ideology.
Now we can look forward to more crime and more Kiwis wasting their potential locked up in prison. And Judith Collins will consider that to be success.