Scott Watson parole highlights problems with our prison system

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Scott Watson failed two drug tests behind bars
Watson had not taken part in any offence-related treatment

One of the many failings with our current prison system is that a prisoner can not gain any rehabilitation services unless they confess to their guilt, and they are not eligible for parole unless they agree to work in forced prison labour for less than minimum pay.

This first part is problematic for two reasons.

1 – For sex offenders disgusted by their own behaviour, their inability to accept guilt for what they have done means they never see any rehabilitation.

2 – If the prisoner is innocent, then you get what the Parole Board has done to Scott Watson, cite the prisoners refusal to do any rehabilitation  and then refuse them parole. He can’t get rehabilitation if he doesn’t admit his guilt.

You can immediately see the problems here right? What we end up with are prisoners who serve their entire sentence who receive no rehabilitation whatsoever.

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We get back into society broken men who are more damaged than when they went in! How insane is that?

Surely a better way to do this would be to make the rehabilitation services available to everyone in the hope that in the process of getting in touch with their inner empathy, prisoners are able to acknowledge their guilt and come to terms with it that way. Simply banning all prisoners who won’t admit their guilt upfront from any rehabilitation  generates a situation where they are far more dangerous on release.

There’s also a double standard at play. Prisoner Rights Activist and current prisoner, Arthur Taylor highlighted it in his blog this week

Scott Watson was knocked back for parole because he denies he’s guilty and he’s fighting a case to be retried . The funny thing is that Brad Shipton and Peter McNamara ( one a cop rapist and the other a lifeguard who helped him & Schollum in a group rape ) also told the Parole Board they were “innocent” and wouldn’t accept their guilt . The Parole Board nonetheless released them shortly after they served a third of their sentences

…when it’s a cop who refuses to accept their guilt, the Parole Board let them walk, but if it’s anyone else who refuses their guilt, they remain locked up.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I take exception to your tone in No 1

    You seem to assume (along with the rest of muddle newzild) that if you are convicted in a court of law of sex crimes against children, you really are guilty and are only denying it for psychological reasons.

    As the Clevedon cases in Britain revealed there may well be many convicted child offenders who in reality were not sex offenders.

    You extend the circumstances of being wrongly convicted to every one else, why not the possibility of incorrectly convicted child offenders.

    And to answer the general theme of your blog, yes, the system is basically fucked and has been for a long time. Unfortunately the presence of complete fuckwits like Judith Collins and other saurian neolibs over the years has made this situation worse.

    The conditions in your prisons are well below UN standards, and your “justice” system is nearly in the same hole. Punishment, punishment, punishment; that’s the name of the game. Rehabilitation is ineffective because it is so restricted and was designed basically anyway as a sop to middle class values.

    Kiwis are very quick to jump up and down at corrupt justice and prisons when their precious kids get into trouble in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia etc.

    You need to look to your own justice and prison systems as well.

    You are creating a disenfranchised class and it will come back to bite you all on the bum or stick a knife in your guts later on.

    No one represents these people any more. Peter Williams did his utmost but he was just one person and sadly is no longer with us.

    To the underclass already in NZ Aoteroa, on benefits and on the streets, don’t forget to add the convicts. They get no say in the governance of their country (also in breach of the UN on voting rights for convicts).

    You ought to feel outraged at this situation.

    • Peter Ellis is the obvious illustration of sex abuse hysteria in NZ. I don’t support same sex marriage so I am not a trendy liberal but the facts are so obvious that this was a mistrial yet most of the country ignores it.

      • Indeed, QT, I recall the period when the Christchurch Civic Creche case hit the headlines. There was a moral-panic hysteria sweeping much of the Western world, including New Zealand.

        I recall listening to Radio NZ interviews with various “experts” in Satanic child abuse. Only one had any credibility (a former FBI agent). She said they had searched for evidence for “Satanic” child abuse but had never found any.

        At the time, it seemed abundantly clear to me that this was hysteria, of a sort, and the very-real problem of child abuse had flown off into a Twilight Zone tangeant.

        I suspect Peter Ellis was a victim of that hysteria and homophobic witch-hunt.

  2. It is simply not correct to state that prisoners are not entitled to rehabilitation services if they do not acknowledge their guilt. Might I suggest you talk to someone in Corrections about this.

  3. There is every reason to believe Scott Watson is innocent, the water taxi operator said Ben Smart and Olivia Hope were dropped off at a 2 masted ketch, I have talked to a man who was at the site on that weekend who observed that 2 masted ketch & had only problems when he tried to tell the police about it. If I was locked up when I was innocent I would be very unhelpful to the prison system as well.

  4. poor Scott Watson is just another victim of police corruption. He was set up, vital evidence was ignored, and eye witness accounts discarded. Why would he admit his guilt? He was framed and the real perpetrator sailed away . Disgusting. Justice – yeah right. Detective Pope got his promotion though

  5. How can you get parole by doing work by forced prison labour. Isn’t that more corruption by this government.
    BUYING your parole with the profits from your labour.

    • If you don’t agree to working in a prison, you are not eligible for Parole – National changed the laws so private prisons are able to make money from prison labour

  6. Prisons simply can’t rehabilitate someone with ingrained psychopathic tendencies who refuses to attend any rehabilitation programs. And I’m not sure if you can rehabilitate a psychopath (and yes that’s what two psychologist reports have diagnosed him as).

    He may have been desperately unlucky and there was another violent psychopath at the lodge that night, who also had the opportunity, motive and ability to murder, but on the balance of probabilities that is an extremely unlikely proposition.

    • Hosea,

      You are taking the word of two Department of Corrections appointed psychologists who have the job of pleasing their employer, because their employer is trying to save face for Scott’s wrongful imprisonment. It is like having a defence lawyer, claim their client is not guilty, then doubling as the judge. These psychologists are not impartial. I am sure if Scott Watson had the financial means and given the opportunity, he could find two psychologists that would say he is not a psychopath.

  7. 2 – If the prisoner is innocent, then you get what the Parole Board has done to Scott Watson, cite the prisoners refusal to do any rehabilitation and then refuse them parole. He can’t get rehabilitation if he doesn’t admit his guilt.

    Bit of a jump there with that conclusion – it’s simpler than that – he can’t get rehabilitation if he refuses rehabilitation.

    Assertions of innocence? Hardly a reliable indicator – David Bain and John Barlow come to mind.

    In Nigel Latta’s TV programme on Prison last year he agreed that prison was unsuitable for most prisoners as they have little opportunity to rehabilitate but he also said there was a small percentage of prisoners who were dangerous and needed to be locked up. Two psychologists assessed Watson as a dangerous psychopath – seems like he’s part of that small group and in the right place.

    Rehab doesn’t have a 100% record and about 0% when the prisoner refuses it.

    • To reiterate what I said in Wednesday’s Open Mike :

      If Scott Watson is so dangerous why has he been moved from a maximum security prison to a minimum security prison?

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