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Monday, 20 July 2009

Chief Justice speaks out

My thoughts on the Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias recent comments.

Whether or not we agree with Chief Justice, Dame Sian Elias, we should all commend her courage for being prepared to speak out and challenge the government. If her comments offend those in government who believe she has over stepped her position, it is only because those in government have oversized egos. It is the right and obligation of each and every New Zealander, regardless of their position or role in society, to speak out when they believe something needs to be said. Democracy should be a true exchange of communication between the elected and the electorate, with the electorate being sovereign at all times, and being able to override decisions of the elected when they think it is important to do so. Democracy certainly isn't electing a few so called elite, who think they know more than everyone else. The collective wisdom of three million voters is far more cogent than the collective wisdom of a small number of elected representatives bound by party ideology and bias.



Steve Baron said...

19 July 2009
Media Statement

Dalziel challenges Power to debate the issues

Labour’s Justice spokesperson has challenged Justice Minister, Hon Simon Power, to front up and debate the issues that were raised in the Chief Justice’s speech.

“The Minister has had time to read the speech, something he clearly had not done when he was door-stopped last week. That is the only reason I can think of for his extraordinarily arrogant ‘we write the rules, you apply them’ response to what was a considered and well-researched speech,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“I attended a Ministerial Drivers of Crime meeting hosted by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Maori Affairs in April and given that many of the same issues that the Chief Justice has highlighted were raised there, where is the response to that?

“I have heard nothing until this extraordinary outburst from a Minister who clearly doesn’t want the answers he said he was committed to finding.” Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel congratulated those media that took this issue seriously and who had read the full speech.

“I don’t agree with every suggestion contained in the Chief Justice’s address, including the ‘early release amnesty’, but that was mentioned in two lines in a 15 page speech, so why it was the focus of so much attention including incurring the wrath of the Minister is beyond me,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“I am more interested in her suggestion that we look for solutions that actually reduce crime. The Chief Justice has talked about community education (as occurred in Finland) so people could actually see what is effective and what is not; intervention strategies for those at risk; better support for probation; increased attention to mental health and substance abuse; and finally she spoke of a frank policy of being prepared to reduce the prison population by management.

“I am challenging the Minister to debate these issues because I would relish the opportunity to see if we could develop a broad consensus.

“The Chief Justice has shared with us a wealth of knowledge and experience and it is wrong to attack her for doing so. This is not a time for kneejerk reactions; it is a time for a considered response. “Lianne Dalziel said.

Contact: Lianne Dalziel 0275 480 644
Read related blog

Rusty Kane said...

Elias did mentioned the result of the 1999 referendum on law and order stated that there is support for longer sentences. But feels that imposing longer sentences and imprisoning more and more offenders simply hasn’t worked. She made the point that it costs around $100,000 to imprison one offender per year. A lot of money, and resources given that most offenders will re-offend after release. The point is Dame Sian Elias has effectively declared herself in opposition to the policies endorsed by voters at the last election.

Kevin Owen said...

What We Have

Friday, 12 October, 10 – 11 am
“Another one bites the dust: New Zealand’s latest experiment in criminal rehabilitation”.

Associate Professor Greg Newbold, School of Sociology and Anthropology

Since 1910, New Zealand has been engaged in a constant search to find a method of rehabilitating criminals that really works. In 1996, inspired by the work of Canadian criminologist Paul Gendreau and others, the Department of Corrections embarked on a new experiment called Integrated Offender Management (IOM). Based on a psychotherapeutic model, IOM involves a complicated and expensive process of identifying an inmate’s ‘criminogenic needs’, creating programs to address those ‘needs’, and applying the programs in the hope of preventing further offending. When initially conceived it was hoped that IOM would produce at least a 25 percent improvement in overall correctional efficiency. Eleven years on, with five-year reconviction rates remaining in the region of 86 percent, it appears that IOM has failed. This paper examines the objectives, strategy, and actual implementation of IOM in New Zealand, and suggests why the project inevitably foundered.

Greg Newbold is an associate professor in the School of Sociology and Anthropology. This paper is taken from his most recent book, ‘The Problem of Prisons’, which is a comprehensive review of the New Zealand prison system and its litany of failed attempts to rehabilitate criminals.

What we need

The Program is a unique non-religious and non-medical prison-based crime and drug rehabilitation model.
The six to eight-month program uses no alternate drugs and through education, nutrition and body disintoxification achieves a high rate of success. The inmates are put through the program. The best of them are then trained to run the program inside the prison. New teams of inmates are then trained and sent out to start the program in other prisons, making expansion rapid and cost effective. When they leave prison they are certified rehailitation experts and can start the program up in the community
CRIMINON INDONESIA• Recidivism Rate of Criminon Graduates is 1.25%. Of 300 Criminon graduates released, only 4 returned to prison. The success rate is 98.5%.
Indonesia has 365 prisons across 17,000 islands and after reviewing the success of the Criminon program in 6 of these, the Ministry of Justice has requested Criminon Indonesia’s cooperation in devising a roll out plan that will eventually bring the program to all of its prisons.

Kevin Owen