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NZ Herald tells Collins to reset compass on private prison

Written By: - Date published: 11:51 am, July 14th, 2010 - 29 comments
Categories: Politics, prisons, public services - Tags: ,

The NZ Herald editorial criticising National’s pursuit of a private prison in Auckland should make Judith Collins and her cabinet colleagues sit up and rethink. Entitled ‘Benefits’ of new prison an absurdity , the Herald editorial says:

Something is clearly awry when a Government proclaims the economic benefits of a new prison. Yet just that is happening with a 960-bed jail at Wiri, which is scheduled to be designed, built and operated under a public-private partnership… Most countries have been loath to entrust prisoner welfare to private contractors….

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has noted that the Corrections vote, which encompasses policing, prisons and justice, will soon be the single biggest budget expenditure. In large part, this is the inevitable upshot of an imprisonment rate that is the second highest in the developed world.

Thus, rather than applauding benefits to be had from higher crime and more prisoners, Ms Collins should be concentrating on the economic pluses of reducing the jail population. She needs to comprehensively reset her compass.

Other politicians are providing a lead. In Britain, the new Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, intends to cut the number of people being sent to jail. He says prison does not always work and is often a waste of money, and that many inmates guilty of petty crimes should not be there.

Can either main party get beyond the popular rhetoric of ‘tough on crime’ and start reducing numbers, and lift the pressure to build more prisons?

29 comments on “NZ Herald tells Collins to reset compass on private prison ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    If marijuana was decriminalised, the policemen in CHCH would likely not have been shot…

  2. Butyeahbutnahyeahnah 2

    Lanthanide – You are So very correct. This is a Crime of Prohibition, nothing more or less. Do you want an extra 700 prision beds? Now? Overnight? Release everyone who has had the misfortune of being caught out doing what is for most, a kiwi past time and an inseparable part of our culture.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Releasing a large number of people from prison back into the population can’t just happen “over night”, especially if those people have no where to go. But this would definitely ease the prison population, as well as drastically reduce funding to the gangs if people can legally buy small amounts of marijuana for reasonable prices.

  3. Pete 3

    I called Grant Robertson on this issue a week or two back on Red Alert – his response was that there are a number of Labour MPs working on getting better policy and better information on this and hopefully something concrete will come from that shortly.

    Focus should be on the ambulance at the top of the cliff IMHO.

  4. Tony 4


    California’s State Assembly dipshits should congratulate themselves for a job well done. They finally managed to pass a bill that will reduce the state’s prison population by 17,000. All it took was a riot that tore a prison in Chino apart from the inside. That, and a federal court ruling handed down in early August that said the state had to clear 25 percent of its 150,000 prisoner inventory.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Can either main party get beyond the popular rhetoric of ‘tough on crime’ and start reducing numbers, and lift the pressure to build more prisons?

    I’ve seen such movement over on Red Alert. Not sure if it’s the whole party but at least some in Labour are moving that way.

    • Rex Widerstrom 5.1

      Some good rhetoric there but the one who seems to have the best grasp of the issues (and have done the most thinking about them) is Grant Robertson.

      Their appointed spokesperson – Dalziel – has been a disgrace. Barely a comment from her in the portfolio and conspicuously failed to back the Chief Justice when she had the chance.

      Let’s hope the mooted reshuffle brings some fresh thinking into Labour’s front ranks.

  6. Rosy 6

    Gosh even the UK tories are aware that prison isn’t working, and costs will be less if there is some thought given to restorative justice and a “re-think from first principles’ of what the justice system should be about.. It seems the NACTs are behind the times, or US-centric. http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/jonathan-bartley/revolution-in-justice

  7. tc 7

    The compass is firmly set on a heading toward “Privatisation – it’s all we know” and crusher is simply following along with all the other NACT sheep…..she’s got the job because she’s got a titanium shell and her grandmothers gold teeth already in her back pocket.

  8. michaeljsavage 8

    Is it just me – or does Collins look like you could crack a walnut on her face – and probably other parts of her anatomy as well.

    God knows she does her best “im a hard bitch” PC Ploddess 1000 yard stare when interviewed which usually ends up looking like mick jaggers bum in need of good dental care.

    All fur coat and no knickers that chick… bet the boys at the watchhouse have her as a pinup.

    • Julie 8.1

      I’m pretty sure it’s not necessary to be a misogynist jerk in order to refute Collins’ crap policy.

      • michaeljsavage 8.1.1

        Dont beat up on yourself – its just a phase youre going through

        • Alexandra

          I support Jullie MJS. You have plenty to criticise Collins and her policies about without reducing yourself to a mindless fuckwit.

          • michaeljsavage

            Alexandra … now now – who is being abusive here??

            I was taking the whatsit out of a politician … comes with the territory and you are attacking me. Is it because she is a woman.

            Or are you not that PC. We arent in a corporate here where you can enact some draconian PC rubbish HR policy that disenfranchises me because it suits you … free speech. I havent abused you .. or called you or Julie a ‘f…wit’ or misogynist jerk now have i…. but you feel free to abuse me accordingly because i say something you dont like…

            Im quite happy with who I am – if you arent … tough tittie

            Take it or leave it

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    The reason for a very high imprisonment rate , is because we have a very high rate of offending for medium to serious crimes. The UK rate has been increasing as well.
    We have picked the low hanging fruit by releasing a lot of inmates after 1/3 of their sentence, but many come straight back.
    Whats next 20% of the sentence served ?

  10. Keith Ng notes that the report Collins was waving around explicitly says its estimate (which is strange enough anyway) is for a prison built “using a traditional approach”, by the government, via Corrections. It doesn’t even try and calculate the “benefits” of the PPP approach, which would be lower. This is insane.


  11. joe bloggs 11

    my, my – has there been a change on the Herald editorial staff?

    Just three weeks ago they were willing soldiers in smearing the left – http://www.thestandard.org.nz/heralds-brown-smears-fail-to-stick/#comment-226089

    Must be tough on the lefty wingnuts – constantly revising their attitude towards the Herald. Personally I don’t give a toss for Granny’s light-weight infotainment that she passes off as editorial comment.

    • michaeljsavage 11.1

      Just keep tossing JB … or not giving toss’s as you put it so elegantly.

      Can i worship at your feet someday … you sound so sexily imperious … sort of dominatrix in nature …. i’ve heard that about you naughty right wingers … will you wear gumboots and rugby shorts … i will bring the portable milking machine … suck suck suck ….

      • Jim Nald 11.1.1

        Dear Michaeljsavage

        I have appreciated reading your comments in the past but you sound a bit different in the three postings I’ve read in the past few minutes: re the comment about ’roundeyes’, the comment above about furcoats etc, and now this.

        Is it really you? Has your account been hijacked by someone?

        I know it is quite exasperating observing this Government’s stupid antics but it is important for the progressive left to hang on to what little sanity left to help restore some sense.

  12. Dan 12

    Could someone please find a link to articles on the blogosphere somewhere that link Crosby Textor to the the privatisation of prisons in the US and/or Australia. I may be wrong but I am sure senior CT people are involved. I have found the strong connection to the mining industry but can’t pull out an interesting article on prison policy.

  13. michaeljsavage 13

    Jim – yes it is a different commenter …. he (the one you are referring to) is mickeysavage i think. Im just plain horrible – he is much nicer

    Im just pointing to the fact that sometimes … just sometimes… it doesnt hurt to take a slightly more offcentre and lighterhearted approach … much of it is perhaps taking the piss.

    It does get a little exasperating when the right start to prod and poke at open sores …. sometimes it gets a reaction.

    • joe bloggs 13.1

      It does get a little exasperating when the right start to prod and poke at open sores . sometimes it gets a reaction.

      Ahhh Diddums

      Try a goodly dose of Largactil – that’ll put the hair back on your chest

  14. michaeljsavage 14

    No worries JB … I’ve already taken a purgative for the problem.

    I think my point is – that its better sometimes not to react to some comments where its not about healthy debate – but rather ideological pointscoring. One of the behaviours most common – seems to be a constant vying to be the one first up with the ‘cleverest’ comment or comeback. It becomes a wholly pointless exercise – easy to insult – harder to be constructive perhaps.

    Thanks for the tea and sympathy. You’re actually quite interesting to read and follow.

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