The prison population in Aotearoa has just reached 10,000 for the first time.
The recent Ombudsman’s reports have revealed that prisoners are exposed to constant threats of violence and subjected to practices that amount to torture. There is no reason to keep locking more people away from their loved ones in inhumane conditions. It doesn’t help them become better people, and it doesn’t keep their communities safe.
The government has continued to ignore the growing evidence that prisons don’t do what they’re supposed to. Over the next few years, $2.5 billion worth of prison construction and expansion has been planned, including a new prison in Waikeria.
This year, the New Zealand government budgeted one billion dollars for the Department of Corrections. What could one billion dollars be doing for impoverished communities across Aotearoa? For the more than 20,000 children with a parent in prison? For education? For housing? For the 1,000 people who are going to be put in Waikeria?
It is clear that at this point the government cannot justify its commitment to the existing prison system. This is nothing more than incarceration for incarceration’s sake, and it is unacceptable.
We believe that all of us have a reason to oppose the locking up of 10,000 people away from their communities. We invite you to come to 10,000 Too Many, a march against mass incarceration.
We’d really like to see you there!