Some good advice from an anonymous scribe in The Herald this morning:
Editorial: Work in jail scheme will do more harm than good
…Then there is the notion of putting prisoners to work while they are behind bars. Not only will they no longer be idle but there is the theory that a regular working routine will help them reintegrate into society when they are released. …
If only it were that simple. Ms Tolley has conceded the plan will require “significant infrastructure upgrades”.
Presumably she is referring to the workplace equipment that will need to be installed in prisons. The costs do not, however, end there. There is the expense involved in work training and tuition for the inmates. This is beyond the capability of prison staff, so will have to be summoned from outside. There is also the extra supervision that will have to be provided for people who will be forced to work but have no incentive to do this to the best of their ability.
The problems do not stop there, as indicated by the experience in Britain. It has proceeded far further down this path, albeit while, unlike here, paying inmates for their labour, even if at a rate well below the country’s minimum wage. … That [wage cost] cutting means, inevitably, that in some cases prisoners are taking the jobs of people in the community.
Additionally, there is the risk that an increasing emphasis on getting inmates into work will lessen that on education, employment training and drug and alcohol addiction treatment programmes. …
… the example of Britain shows the perils of large-scale work schemes. There are also ethical issues attached to making inmates work without pay. These may not unduly concern those who hate the idea of prisoners lazing about in their cells. They should, however, be concerned by the practicalities of an idea that has the potential to do far more harm than good.
A well researched and thoughtful piece that raises some useful warning flags against a typically facile and populist Nat policy. Bravo! Even more useful, however, is the frank acknowledgement with which this particular piece begins:
Some policies aimed at quenching what politicians perceive to be a public appetite for fairness are recycled regularly even when they have been shown to be deeply flawed.
So – here’s my question. Where were you for the last 5 years Granny? Where were you when the Nats were recycling the nonsense that tax cuts for the rich would save our economy? Where were you when the Nats were recycling posturing about getting tough on crime? Where were you when they were recycling failed boot-camps? Where were you when they recycled failed national standards? Where were you when they recycled the failed politics of economic austerity? Where were you when they recycled already failed charter schools? Where were you when they regularly attacked beneficiaries, teachers, unions, democratically elected councils, and anyone else that they thought would give them a red-neck rise?
Just about everything this National government does is recycling populist policies that have been shown to be deeply flawed. So I ask again – for the last 5 years – where were you Granny?