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The Government’s prison reforms

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, August 20th, 2019 - 71 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, crime, Kelvin Davis, prisons, Social issues - Tags:

Kelvin Davis, Andrew Little and the Maori caucus in the Labour Party are showing their mettle by proposing reforms to the prison system that are radical and which will no doubt incense the lauranorda brigade.  

Let’s face it.  The current system is not working.  Our incarceration rates are high and the incarceration rate for Maori and Pacifica is appalling high.  Maori make up 52% of the total numbers behind bars which jarrs when you note that they make up only 15% of the general population.

The causes are complex.  Poverty particularly in the formative years and the effects of loss of Maori land and marginalisation of Maori culture are major contributors.  A recent report, He Waka Roimata, was brutal in its assessment, the causes are colonialism and racism.

Thomas Manch at Stuff had this report:

Grief and colonisation sit at the heart of a criminal justice system that must change, a Government report has found.

The report, He Waka Roimata or A Vessel of Tears, was released on Sunday and makes a case for transformation of a criminal justice system “clearly not working”.

“Some of what we heard was confronting; some has been more optimistic. Without doubt, the clearest call we heard is the call for change,” it says.

The report was produced by the Government-appointed Te Uepū pai i te Ora – Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group after more than 220 public meetings nationwide. 

“Among these conversations the overwhelming emotion we encountered is one of grief” it reads.

And the Government has responded with the release of the Hōkai Rangi programme with the direct aim of reducing the incidence of Maori incarceration down to the proportion that Maori occupy of the population.  From Radio New Zealand:

An iwi leader has lauded a new strategy to reduce the Māori prison population as heroic and brave, but warns it won’t succeed if Corrections is left to do it alone.

After a decade without a Māori strategy, Corrections today launched Hōkai Rangi, which aims to eventually reduce the number of Māori in prison from 50 per cent to 16 per cent, proportional to the Māori population.

How the programme success will be measured has yet to be decided, but Corrections chief executive Christine Stevenson said she wanted to see a “decent drop” in the Māori prison population over the next five years.

Under the programme, prisoners will get more visits from whānau and prison staff provided extra training to ensure prisoners are treated with dignity.

Ngāti Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana said it was “quite a heroic effort from the current minister” and the iwi would be supporting him all the way.

The statement and intent are brave.  In ten years time we will hopefully see a reversal of this most appalling of statistics.


71 comments on “The Government’s prison reforms ”

  1. michelle 1

    A good start but they also need to fix the justice system and all the other racist government depts then they need to find suitable housing and jobs for the prisoners otherwise it will be a waste of time rehabilitating them when they other areas like housing falls short.

    How many prisoners are still there because they cant find somewhere decent to live.

    All government dept need to be heavily audited to see what they haven't been delivering on especially for Maori cause I believe we will see what has and hasn't been happening more so the latter

  2. alwyn 2

    What is the Government proposing to do about the gross excess in the number of men being imprisoned compared to the number of female inmates?

    As of June 2019 there were 9252 males and 717 females in New Zealand prisons. Can we assume that Kelvin Davis will come out with a plan to correct what must surely be, at least in his eyes, an appalling injustice against men?

    Rather than rabbiting on about Maori being imprisoned being a racist act why doesn't Kelvin try and fix the reasons why most inmates end up on the path to jail? It isn't just because they are Maori. It is mostly, at least in my view, because of the failure of the education system. Most Prison inmates are, according to the head of the Howard League, illiterate. That is the thing to correct and it isn't just something that affects Maori.

    While he is about it of course he can also try and solve the prejudice against men in the criminal justice system.

    • Incognito 2.1

      What about …?

      Can we assume that you didn’t read the post?

      Can we assume that you don’t want the problem solved because it doesn’t address let alone solve all problems?

      Can we assume that your comment is disingenuous?

      • xanthe 2.1.1

        "can we assume"

        That incognito has no desire for any sort of meaningful dialogue?

        "can we assume"

        That incognito is just pushing a meme and simply wants to crush any inconvenient alternative view?

        "can we assume"

        That incognito is ignorant ?

        • Psycho Milt

          I'd say "No to all three," based on previous interactions. Does seem safe to assume Incognito has a low tolerance for Alwyn's tiresome what-aboutery, though.

          • Incognito

            Whataboutism is not conducive to sound debate and generally distracts for the topic of/under discussion. Often, it is a deliberate tactic. Indeed, it is tiresome.

        • greywarshark

          Please don't be anti incognito xanthe. Unless you want to take on the job of moderation in his place, or be another in the group of mods, then spare a thought for his hard work that is invaluable. Yours not so much. Respect for the people who try and find balance on this site, as incognito does, would promote better discussion.

          We disagree quite often – when somebody doesn't display the required amount of concern demanded by another in particular. But there is more than one way of looking at a matter that is hotly contested and sometimes the best is to cool down.

          • xanthe

            can we then assume that "can we assume" …. some deliberate misinterpretation …….. to shout down or undermine anothers contribution is fine?

            in which case "can we assume that greypeaceminnow doesnt want to consider any solution other than a racist one ?

            • marty mars

              the racist one has the most influence (or so say the experts who know something) – wake up will you alwyn couldn't spin a straight yarn if it had a level attached – it is a basic 101 distraction from the racism point

            • greywarshark

              Xanthe you did put –

              "can we assume"

              That incognito is ignorant ?

              You attack commenters from a forceful, aggressive, critical, didactic and peremptory line. This isn't one intended to find common ground but to order others to think whatever you have decided. You don't appear to be able to reflect on your behaviour. It is not helpful if a discussion is wanted.

              Why don't you tell Alwyn what he should be thinking? He is just the same as you from a different direction. You could put on your gloves and have a hefty discussion with him, as equal sparring partners.

        • Incognito

          That incognito has no desire for any sort of meaningful dialogue?

          A meaningful dialogue is exactly what I desire and I know that Alwyn can contribute in a meaningful way if he puts his mind to it. IMHO, he hadn’t and he continued his lazy line of slightly facetious comments (https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-19-08-2019/#comment-1647791) on this important topic. Therefore, I challenged him and I’m glad to say that he engaged positively @

          That incognito is just pushing a meme and simply wants to crush any inconvenient alternative view?

          What meme might that be? Healthy debate is all about opposing views (vide supra).

          That incognito is ignorant ?

          About what specifically or do you mean in general? Your criticism is not constructive if it is unclear what you mean.

          • xanthe

            precisely my point incognito!

            "Can we assume?" used in that way is not dialogue and does not encourage dialogue.


            The proper usage of “Can we assume?” is in testing for common ground.

            ie.. Can we assume that finding common ground is a mutual goal here?

            • Incognito

              Yes, some common ground there, thank you.

              Please note that I wasn’t aiming or intending to enter the dialogue myself but to encourage another one to do so and with success 🙂

      • alwyn 2.1.2

        "Can we assume that".

        To the first of your assumptions – No

        To the first of your assumptions – No

        To the first of your assumptions – No

        But I suspect you already know that.

        • alwyn

          Actually I should expand on this. Here are a few links to stories from Mike Williams on what the Howard League were getting up to. At that time, Kelvin Davis seemed to accept the premise that it was a literacy, rather than racial problem that led to the inability of so many prisoners to cope in the outside world.

          As Mike says there were prisoners who could not get home detention with bracelets because they couldn't even fill in the forms. That sort of thing has nothing at all to do with many of them being Maori. The problem was that they couldn't read.

          At least the then National Government, and PM, seemed to be trying to solve it. Kelvin Davis screeching "racism" does no good at all.




          • Incognito

            Actually I should expand on this.

            Thank you.

            The problems are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they intersect. I agree that the use of labels can be confusing if not misleading.

        • Incognito

          What I know isn’t what you show. I like your comment @ much better; it stimulates healthy debate on an important and sensitive topic IMO.

          • alwyn

            When I read your first remark I got a little p*d off because I remembered what someone had said to me about a week ago. Remember?


            Then after I had put the comment in, and I didn't even get it right, as I meant to say "to the first" then "second" and then "third" I calmed down and expressed my view on what I think is causing the enormous concentration of Maori prisoners.

            It is not, in my view a question of racism but of the failings in the education system. If you call it racism and talk about having to have a "maori" justice system things aren't going to get any better. A person who is functionally illiterate simply cannot get by in the modern world and they will simply get involved in crime.

            When I was young that wasn't the case. Somebody could get a job, basically labouring to be sure, who had only a minimal grasp of literacy and numeracy. I worked, during the University holidays, with people like that in the wool stores. As long as you could read digits and a few words you could hold down a quite well paid, and useful job. I also don't remember any problems with getting a driver's license if your reading level was pretty low. I certainly don't remember any written exam when I got mine. Those jobs simply don't seem to exist any more, at least in more than trivial numbers.

            If people can't read or write they can't get work and they will simply end up in a life of petty crime, followed by steadily more serious crime. Then they will end up in prison, not because the system is racist but because they are simply not equipped to get by in today's society. Fix that, don't just claim it is racism.

            • McFlock

              Literacy is a factor, but isn't the end of it. Community issues are also factors, but not the end of it. Systemic bias is a factor, but not the end of it. Mental health and special needs are factors, but not the end of it. FASD is a factor, maybe even lead poisoning, but not the end of it.

              There are no magic bullets. Just lots of factors to work on.

            • Incognito

              I had honestly forgotten about that even though it was only (!) a week ago. Even your use of the A-word in your comment @ 2 upstream in this thread hadn’t triggered my memory 🙁

              What you are alluding to is a variant of what is known as degree inflation or inflation creep.


              With (our) society becoming more complex over time, the demands on the cognitive abilities of its citizens increase. It is questionable whether current education and the education system do prepare (us) well or even adequately for the future. I fear the answer is (becoming more) negative.

              I think there is an intrinsic bias in societies and education systems of former European colonies in favour of the West-European model for lack of a better word – I deliberately avoid the ethno-religious variants. Without passing moral judgement, it is critical to acknowledge this bias and move forward. If we don’t, it will hold us back with all the unintended consequences. How we do this is the big question but opinions are so polarised that I have never even attempted to voice mine.

      • Dukeofurl 2.1.3

        Everything about prisoners doesnt fit the population curve.

        They are massively disproportionately male

        They are disproportionately younger especially in the 20-35 age group

        They are over represented in the low literacy groups.

        oh and the other group which is disproportionate:

        "35.2 per cent of the 10,435-strong prison population were known to have gang connections.

        No surprise there, involvement with criminal groups means time in prison. And its increasing.


    • Michelle Gray 2.2

      Alwyn the system and our country was founded on racism racist laws racist policies and policy for one people not two people you need to accept this and move on unless you have walked in our shoes you have no idea with it is like

  3. Puckish Rogue 3

    I hope it works, I really do but without more emphasis on job training (or opportunities for job training) then a lot of these people will be back on the streets without having any real, tangible skills for finding work which will make it easier for them to slide back into the lifestyle they were living before

    Some ideas of the top of my head:

    Every prison should cook its own meals, grow its own food, have an engineering workshop, a garage, laundry and sewing facilities, building and repairing houses etc etc

    Have a proper, prisoner-worked farm, learn pest control, fencing, scrub cutting, drenching, shearing, milking etc etc

    Hell the engineering workshops could be focused on producing predator traps, in greater numbers then they are now

    It used to be the way, to give prisoners work to keep them busy and something they can take to employers on the outside

    But it'd take a lot of money so probably won't happen

    • Dv 3.1

      It already costs a lot of money to keep them locked up

      if that plan helps keep from reoffending, then that is saving too.

      i agree with PR TWICE in 2days!,,,,

      • Puckish Rogue 3.1.1

        100 – 150 grand a year locked vs paying taxes…

        • Ankerrawshark)

          Good to hear your view Pr as you work with these guys.

          my tuppence worth, genetic component activated by environment ie child abuse. That was from the Dunedin study.

          High rates of head injuries in the prison population. Mental illness and substance abuse. I can’t see how prison could possibly do most people any good, odd exceptionlike the guy who published a good recently. Education very important and also developing skills and helping people when they are released.

          i tend to be an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not sure what the answers are there, but there will likely be stuff that has worked.

          • Puckish Rogue

            I don't know how accurate it is as its only hearsay but I have heard that Hillmorton don't take as many prisoners with mental health issues as they could because its cheaper to keep them in prison so a number of the prisoners are judged to have behaviour problems not mental health issues

    • Robert Guyton 3.2

      Especially grow their own food; not only will that connect inmates with that most important natural process, it will also improve their health and their sense of purpose and it will empower them for the time they get out and find they still need to eat. There's a world of learning in the garden and it's the perfect place to reflect upon life smiley

      • Puckish Rogue 3.2.1

        Its all good, I'd still have the deliveries but the produce grown can be donated to womens refuge, salvation army etc etc

        • Peter Christchurh nz

          At Rolleston Prison Christchurch, food is grown (at least it was 10 years ago so assume still is).

          It was a good thing, with the Kia Marama unit (sex offenders) growing potatoes, strawberries and also having honey hives. The Rimu(?) Unit also worked on the piggery, although doubt they ever saw any bacon! Any food tended to get stolen by the prison officers.

          All provides a sense of purpose and structure, along with some good skills. The real.problem, in my opinion, is not the prisons, but the destructive idiots in the Parole Service, who pretty much ensure that no rehabilitation is even remotely possible upon release.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Still is but its on a much, as I understand it, smaller scale. Freedom Farms buys up most, if not all, of the pigs raised and every time I drive past the pigs they seem happy…or at least they're outside with individual shelters

    • WeTheBleeple 3.3

      Absolutely PR, you've shown several times you've given all this a great deal of thought. Also like your ideas concerning reinstating a forensic psychiatric ward.

      The idea of prisoners growing their own food etc has a lot of merit. These are transferable skills to the real world. A good polyculture farm would have forestry, medicines, honey, stock, gardens, food forest… The prisoners would have many things to learn, better food to help their rehabilitation (facing your demons is hard work), better pride in their efforts, and most of all, a way forward.

      And yes, some manufacturing would be a great move. Your suggestion of predator traps is top notch it lends pride via prisoners playing a part in the country's healing.

      • Peter Christchurh nz 3.3.1

        A lot of that already exists at the Rolleston/Christchurch Prison complex. Forestry, piggery (largest in SI), engineering, farm (sheep), plus the painting, maintenance and gardening gangs. Also a complex that renovates houses, which involves carpentry, plumbing, electrical work.

        One of the problems is that many prisoners do not want to work (they cannot be compelled to) and for some their security classification prevents it.

        • WeTheBleeple

          So Rolleston has much other prisons could learn from aye. I believe Waikeria has some eel (and other) farming going on too. Shame the prisoners can't be compelled to work. Then just put them on toilet duties till they get over themselves and decide farm life aint so bad 😀

          Could make it so new guys get the crappiest jobs and progress via behaviour into better positions. Or not…

          • Peter Christchurh nz

            They do use incentives though, like pay ($20 -$25 per week which is a lot for long laggers or those without family support). Also, prisoners will get perks, like a boil up, or coffee or Milo and so on, which again means a lot to those with little!

            As much as I despise Judith Collins, one thing she did good was the housing renovation scheme at Rolleston.

            Most prisoners, away from alcohol or strong drugs, are ready to learn and change, just wish more means was provided for them to achieve that. An opportunity missed.

        • Puckish Rogue

          You're right its just that I'd like to see the programmes expanded, I mean Shane Jones wants some trees planted and we've got some guys (not all) that probably wouldn't mind planting some, maybe have to learn to clear scrub first, learn maintenance of equipment which would lead to quals in areas where they could then find employment

          But yes a lot don't and that's where the real issues lay, how do you make someone want to work when they don't want to

          • marty mars

            treat them with respect – that is your starting point

            • Puckish Rogue

              You have no idea of what you're talking about. I have never seen an officer talk to a prisoner worse than prisoners routinely talk to officers so the first thing that needs to happen is for the ignorant people out there (yes that includes you) to stop encouraging the notion that officers are just mean bullies who treat prisoners badly

              It would be nice if, as part of the program, prisoners were encouraged to treat officers with the same respect as being demanded for prisoners

              • marty mars

                Not me saying it – but I'm sure your 6 months in the job qualifies you to know something that the experts who have studied this for years don't – perhaps write a guest post with your views so we can read all about it.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  Yeah sure just parroting what the experts say and its just a coincidence it just happens to allow you perpetuate the bullshit that officers are mean, nasty, bullies

                  Because of course thats why so many prisoners re-offend isn't it, the guards don't give the prisoners enough respect

                  Sure its got nothing to do with:

                  the mother (foetal alcohol syndrome anyone?)

                  the wider family (if there even is a father)

                  the education system failing to educate or diagnose any learning difficulties

                  the mental health system (yeah you) not treating patients correctly (yeah electro shock treatment to the genitals was a good idea wasn't it, plenty of experts all agreed on it and I bet you had a great time applying it)

                  the justice system (yep they have nothing to do with people being sent to prison)

                  CYPS how many errors did they make, how many years were these people known to them

                  the police

                  the politicians

                  Nope its Corrections Officers not being respectful enough of the prisoners thats the real issue

                  • marty mars

                    I never said that – sounds like you've got a chip on your shoulder, by the evidence of that rant anyway, or maybe you are just new and don't really get it yet – In my experience it takes a lot longer than 6 months to learn about a new job especially one as difficult and challenging as a prison guard.

                    The experts are experts for a reason and they seem to have come from a view of reducing recidivism for Māori and other inmates, which I would of thought was a good thing.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    Did you, PR ,post this…?

                    A great watch, and truly a model to aspire to.

                    What really struck me was how long they train the staff for…two years at college level! (Around 5.5mins on the video) I've long harboured the opinion that the police training is pathetically superficial and ill prepares personnel for such an important job. At least two years for them as well.

                    FWIW Puckish Rogue, I respect the fact that you give your work much depth of thought, and you clearly consider the wider needs of your charges. I see you thriving professionally in a more humane and rehabilitative prison system. yes

                  • marty mars

                    more EVIDENCE to help your learning

                    The Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, said the prison's relationship with iwi was fragile and the lack of cultural support for the Māori inmates was disturbing.

                    "When my inspectors went to the prison and endeavoured to engage in a way which was Tikanga Māori, there was no enthusiasm for a Māori angle to the way in which consultation should occur, no te reo Māori was spoken."

                    This week the government announced Hōkai Rangi – a strategy to cut the number of Māori prisoners, and uphold their mana while inside.

                    Julia Whaipooti from the Justice Advisory Group said the Ombudsman's report revealed the extent of the culture shift required at prisons like Ngawha for Hōkai Rangi to be successful.


                    • marty mars

                      sadly gnat and judith collins supporters like puckwit who work in corrections ARE the main problem in implementing. After months they know it all, they have made their judgments, the prisoners are dumb, or lazy, or bad. While these people are in corrections what hope for Māori who could have other options? Fuck all because their jailers are too venal and nasty to try and change instead they belittle the hope and attempts to change. But don't worry when the next disaster for the victims happen they'll be all weepy and upset saying, "oh why didn't someone do something?" What hope for Māori in prison with that? Little, very little indeed.

          • AB

            A Green New Deal – something that provides/guarantees satisfying, interesting and decently-paid work and training to at risk young people before they start offending, rather than after they are already severely damaged.

            Much respect to you PR for caring.

  4. Koff 4

    Read Liz Gordon's post in The Daily Blog on an open women's prison in Yorkshire compared to the equivalent in Christchurch. There is no easy comparison as Maori incarceration is part of a systemic problem that cannot be solved just by changing the way prisons work, but it suggests that things don't have to stay the way they are.


  5. Gosman 5

    I am quite happy with this. I hope it will make a difference.

  6. Stuart Munro. 6

    It's promising, and it's overdue because of course the Right have proven incapable of formulating long term plans. But it won't happen overnight, and likely there will be some issues early on.

    I think it's safe to anticipate the Gnats will attempt to politicize it as being 'soft on crime', a curious position given that epic rorters like Brownlee and Key remain at large.

    • greywarshark 6.1

      But they always claim they didn't know about whatever wrong was under way, which for the rest of us is no excuse. How does it go – 'Ignorance of the law can not be pleaded as an excuse'.

    • alwyn 6.2

      Before you have a go at National can I suggest that you have a look at this article. You will find that National were trying to promote the ideas of former Labour Party President, and Howard League CEO, Mike Williams. I suggest that Bill English was making rather better use of his time than would have been the case if he had visited another kindergarten class?


      • Dukeofurl 6.2.1

        I think it was Tolley a few years back who changed Nationals direction on this not English, he was just being 'photo op/part time PM' for this event

      • Stuart Munro. 6.2.2

        The more time Gnat MPs spend in prison, the better for everybody else, and if vulnerable children were spared the encounter so much the better. If Bill had organized and funded it that would be one thing, but if he was just there for the photo-op that would be consistent with his style of government.

  7. marty mars 7

    What does treating people with respect mean?

    Not like this – thank you for this report

    The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly-critical of conditions at Northland's Ngawha Prison.

    …He found the Northland Regional Corrections Facility had changed focus.

    High security prisoners were transferred out of the prison in 2013, and it now housed prisoners with lower security classifications.

    Almost a quarter of the prison population with those on remand awaiting trial, Mr Boshier said.

    "Yet many of the processes and practices were more suited to a high-security setting and were impeding achievement of the prison's vision to develop a Kaupapa Māori, based culture to support tāne to take their proper place in the community."

    …One example was an instruction that cell doors were locked while prisoners were exercising in the compound to reduce prisoner-on-prisoner assaults.

    "My inspectors found that prisoners were resorting to urinating and, on occasion, defecating in the compound because of a lack of toilet facilities.

    "This is pretty uncivilised in modern New Zealand," he told Checkpoint.

    Inspectors were advised by staff of a restriction on access to drinking water in the yard – prisoners were not allowed to take water bottles or drinks containers there and instead to use the drinking fountain, which was integrated into the yard's lavatory.

    The prison director was unaware of the situation and immediately revoked the restriction, Mr Boshier said.

    "Restricting prisoners' access to toilets and water is unacceptable and current mitigations were inadequate. I consider this to be degrading treatment and a breach of Article 16 of the Convention against Torture."


    • Sabine 7.1

      “Under the programme, prisoners will get more visits from whānau and prison staff provided extra training to ensure prisoners are treated with dignity.

      Ngāti Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana said it was “quite a heroic effort from the current minister” and the iwi would be supporting him all the way.”

      I applaud the extra visitors time from whanau and i hope that whanau actually has the means to travel tot he prisons in order to visit their incarcerated relatives.

      But this "extra training to ensure prisoners are treated with dignity'? so they are saying that staff is currently treaing prisioners without dignity? are these staff being fired? No they get extra 'retraining"?

      And someone then considers this to be 'heroic"?

      good grief.

      Yet no one seems to discuss the fact that maori get incarcerated at larger numbers, often with more prison time then white offenders and with less 'home D' time then white offenders?

      File this under 'kinder and gentler bullshit' with absolutly no change being made as to why maori are in prison in the high numbers that are.

      • marty mars 7.1.1

        Lots and lots of people are working on the inherent racism of how and why Māori are treated the way they are – they just don't bother talking about it here – and why would they.

        Sure you file it wherever you like and some of us will get on with trying to change things for the better anyway.

        • Sabine

          i do file it there as that is where it belongs.

          I do hope however that the retrained staff does not forget its training again in the future when we again will have a less kind and less gentle government.

          When it comes to police and corrections i am highly cynical for my own reasons. And as i said elsewhere locking people up is the failure of all of society not just a few. I have nothing but respect for those who try to keep people out of prison in the first place, and for those that genuinly try to better the system.

          But staff that can't treat people with dignity and respect as part of their job duties don't need re-training, they need firing. What you have posted there is not an issue of staff needing training, that is an issue of staff being abusive.

  8. greywarshark 8

    Ngawha prison in Northland was being discussed on Radionz this morning. It makes me so sad to hear what has been done there. Local Maori allowed it to be built after some doubt, because they considered that good things could arise from their interaction with the inmates. Practically all the promises and plans made have not been implemented.



    Those of us who care about NZ being fair and respecting all people, and maintaining standards of safety and proper levels of good conditions that are appropriate, need to take note of what our Chief Ombudsman has found. And thank you to him for his hard work and his honest report – The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier.

    The question now is who was responsible to see that the Maori initiative promised was implemented as desired by Maori, and to encourage habilitation and less recidivism? Has that official and the overseeing MP. suffered some correction themselves? A sacking, a drop in wages and position, and a replacement with someone else who would do a proper job? Has the whole plan just been sidelined and the matter come down to finding a business to run the prison with low cost as its main goal? Has this fallen to the dreaded contracting out syndrome?

    Get your asses into gear government now we have a left-wing one, and repair the foul mess that RW politics have got us into. And make sure that you monitor everything that happens and measure its success, so you can’t be accused of being airy- fairy dreamers pouring money into useless, wasteful projects. Practical, intelligent and kindly systems, pilots, and projects needed please.

    What business or organisation now runs the prison that locks prisoners into their exercise yard? And that is, away from toilets so they have to wee and poo in the yard, and away from water which is only available from the toilet block. There was reference to it being on a medieval level, and it sure sounds like it.

    This is bloody disgusting and another example of the shabby standards we have ended up with since the advent of neolib economics with small government, which actually means inadequately hu-manned and funded. The old government is virtually dead and the free market is just a bunch of vultures invited in to pick its bones. Anyone paying attention to this and not disgusted by what has happened to our country, is neglectful at their core, of proper respect for our NZ polity and citizenship.


    24/7/2019 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/395147/report-says-maori-cannot-wait-any-longer-for-prison-reform

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Great initiative from Kelvin and others.

    Pākehā mate of mine once spent two years in Mt Eden, and he was never busier, because, he was literate! Form filling, reading documents and letters, teaching what he could, made him in demand.

    South African and Pom screws are still a worry, but hopefully this Govt.will get a second term and bring Prison reform to fruition.

  10. JO 10

    Replying to Koff #4, 11.18am yesterday – thanks for putting up Dr Liz Gordon's post about prisons. Here's a link to the prison she visited in Yorkshire, quoting the prison governor Diane Pellew.

    With enough political courage there's no reason why we can't do something similar here, in spite of a legion of hooting talkbackers repeating the first sentence in the quote without thinking about the last one.


    ‘But why should these women – who are, after all, convicted criminals – be given opportunities that many who have never broken the law don’t have?

    “Everybody makes mistakes,” Ms Pellew says. “Some people make bigger mistakes than others. A lot of the people in here are victims themselves – they may have been victims of abuse in the past.

    “It is about giving opportunities, about breaking the chain. If we don’t stop it now, it will go down to future generations.

    “If we can make them into decent citizens, everybody benefits.”’

  11. Siobhan 11

    These reforms are something for sure. They may even lose us the dubious distinction of having the seventh-highest incarceration rate in the OECD, just below Mexico. But thats still a long way from becoming ‘progressive’.

    “If your parent is in prison, your chances of going there increase tenfold,” says John Sinclair of the Howard League for Penal Reform. “The people who will go into prison in 10 years are currently with CYFS [now Oranga Tamariki]. They’re kids in school who aren’t learning to read, or who have hearing problems. It’s not hard to find these people. All the social problems we’re not fixing are feeding the prison population.”

    Lawyer and Māori Legal Service director Moana Jackson has interviewed hundreds of former prisoners. “More than 80% were taken from their whānau and placed in care,” he says.

    The path to prison starts before a person starts school….a functional adequately funded Oranga Tamariki, Affordable long term housing, decent functional childcare, comprehensive mental/physical health care for all families..

    A massive increase in Government spending is required..however I guess none of these goals would be considered 'fiscally responsible'..


  12. finbar 12

    Aside capitalism its ruin exploit,crime why,what shelf book find a cure,imprisonment for all if not most is not needed,what law crime theft against propert the major crime judge lawes rule book,capitalist.,punishment,eh judge what your thought about the sentences for these property crimes,the most still jail for.

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