The current crime wave and why filling prisons won’t work

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We are a nation of fatherless children raised by solo mothers and we are seeing an appalling spike in violence.

The top 5% of NZers own roughly 50% of NZs wealth, while the bottom 50% of NZers own a miserable 5%!

People being shot for mere driving infractions, people being beaten in broad day light in our largest cities, vile acts of murder by people who are supposed to be protectors, our headlines compete for our outraged attention.

Each crime more sickening than the previous.

Each crime only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the thousands of domestic violence call outs that never make the news and only sit as a Government statistic that barely hints at the metastasising social cancer they truly represent.

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Little of this should surprise us.

The Covid lockdown was a universal experience. These are incredibly rare events that impact everyone and what we see splatter onto our screens as naked violence is the predictable societal post traumatic trauma of that universal experience.

The sacrifice of Covid has impacted us all differently.

The stresses are rupturing the fabric of society in bloody stains that anger us as we cope with holding our own shit together.

Into this cauldron of boiling rage come the Politicians harvesting our fury with promises of retribution.

ACT have called for a billion dollars to be spent on our Prison Industrial Complex by claiming this draconian lynch mob nonsense policy of their’s will merely replace the crims in prison that the soft-on-crime-socialist-gang-hugging-Labour Party have fecklessly let out of jail.

Labour have succeeded in lowering the prison muster using National’s home detention application policy because they instructed prison staff to help illiterate prisoners fill in the forms – what exactly is the rights beef with that? The helping illiterate people fill in forms or that Labour made a National Party prison policy work?

Tough on crime rhetoric is always a vote winner, ACT could promise to chain gang children in orange jumpsuits on the harbour bridge breaking rocks with pic axes while singing gospel hymns barefoot on hot coals and David Seymour would be elected Prime Minister.

When ACT demanded to put ankle bracelets on 11 year old Children, National followed it up by demanding ankle bracelets on 10 year old children, how will Luxon top a billion into prisons to lock up more people?

Will National propose an Island fight club prison where prisoners battle each other to death simulcast with live gambling and caffeinated sports drink sponsorship?

Only if Fonterra gain branding rights.

Prisons for the worst amongst us protect us from them, and most civilised people appreciate that, but the reason why the threshold has to be the worst amongst us as opposed to just dumb or bad people is because the experience of prison tends to take damaged men and turn them into monsters.

Around 70% of people with previous convictions are reconvicted within 2 years following release from prison. Around 49% are re-imprisoned after 2 years following release from prison.

Prison makes more damaged angry men, not less.

It must be reserved for the worst and not just a knee jerk response to the cruelty and malice we see in News Headlines.

We must go beyond our contempt and righteous wrath and demand social policy that isn’t counter productive even when that righteous wrath and contempt are perfectly reasonable responses to the ugliness we keep seeing.

 

 

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58 COMMENTS

  1. The solution is mass migration and mass inequality, it’s how you get that Third World infrastructure, violence and societal collapse that NACT voters want.

    • The current government is labour led with a full majority. Just to remind you of reality.

        • “The solution is mass migration and mass inequality”. I have tried to replace “solution” with “problem” that did not help.

          I guess you just went with the flow of the opinion piece.

      • @ Reactionary Bullshitter.
        God. The temptation to call you obscene and unflattering names while suggesting you do immoral and illegal things to animals and your mother is strong in me right now.
        What you’re actually and literally doing is using the torments of those less fortunate than you to further your own propagandist agendas and to sate your fetishes and since you’re so far up The National Party and its dark-child parasite The ACT Party they will surely benefit from what ever you write, as is the psychology of behind such things. That’s why one would be insane, literally, to vote for the twin freak show escapees you adore so much. In politics, one must always err on the side of caution.
        I’m about to repeat myself while getting close to a point of exhaustion.
        ‘Labour’ is not the current pre neo-liberal Labour-thing that’s wearing Old Labours skin. Old Labour was a trusting and reliable ol’ beastie of a thing. It trundled along in its apron smelling of fresh scones, sausages and mashed potatoes. Old Labour tried to cuddle us all into every new election but it just got old and tired and spent more time contemplating a nice cup of tea and a wee lie down. In other words, old Labour took her eye of the ball then roger douglas climbed up her knickers and fucked Old Labour over and over and over. Until Old Labour died and left us with rogers own iteration of neo-liberalism. Or Reaganism or Thatcherism etc or what ever the fuck one prefers to call [it].
        I do believe, however, that Labour’s trying her best to stand up and take back the kitchen. I could look at Adern and not want to vomit. I can listen to Grant Robertson and not use the Dark Web to learn how to cook napalm. Kiri Allen is a good person so I hear and to have her in the same government as Chloe Swarbrick would be a harsh reality become soft dream come true. So all is not yet lost.
        But for the sake of Dear Sweet Jesus, do not, for fucks sake, vote for the farmers best traitors the Nats and rogers little fiddle-stick the ACT thing.

        • I could not figure out what he meant.
          Thanks for trying to postulate what he was trying to say.

          I pray that he reads your commentary and drops his head in shame or explain himself.

          I like how you say that you are tempted and then print what you felt needed to be said. Long live freedom of speech.

  2. Martyn – El Salvador (yes, NZ is not El Salvador) has locked up 1% of their population, mostly gang members from the USA deported to El Salvador, like our 501s…and El Salvador is enjoying peace, safety, and overall happiness.

    • That scheme is harsh 40,OO0 adult gangsters locked up for 40 years in 100 man cells in a prison in the middle of a wilderness. And teenage gangsters as young as 12 for 10 years.

      • joseph – Yes, it is very harsh — and that’s the point…As for teen gangsters imprisoned, some (not all) are killers…

        • At least our prisons for these younger criminals has intermediate schools and colleges where we educate them so that they have a better chance to choose to be productive citizens once they have served their time.

          Even our senior citizen criminals who are incarcerated are given the opportunity to educate themselves in prison if they choose to do so.

      • awwwww poor joseph all upset that criminals are treated harsh. yes agree joseph way too harsh. let’s send them all to NZ so they can have a nice life and carry on ruining countless citizen’s lives. After all, your poor suffering criminals must have more rights than all of us who respect the law.
        UNBELIEVABLE – now we know why NZ is in the state it is. Too many josephs.

  3. “We are a nation of fatherless children raised by solo mothers”

    Hyperbole aside, here you’ve nailed the problem – or a big part of it, at least. A sustainable reduction in both poverty and crime will require a rethink of the DPB. It was originally intended to help women out of a difficult situation, not to be the “lifestyle” that its become. Kids under the care of a solo Mum are – on average – at a disadvantage compared to kids raised by two parents in a stable relationship. A greatly increased risk of dropping out of school, becoming homeless (the more fragile ones), or falling into crime (the more psychopathic ones). Nobody benefits from the state paying solo Mums to have 3, 4, 5 or more kids on their own.

    • Blaming single mothers for the state of the economy is ridiculous propaganda, apparently invented by Murdoch (or maybe the Daily Mail).

      Why are all homemakers not being attacked? Because such propaganda is intended to divide the working class into controllable, warring camps. The labour movement demands jobs for all and rising wages, which is a dangerous threat to the Wall Street bonanza of falling real wages and union busting.

      Best brainwash the workers into blaming other workers (i.e. themselves) for their low wages — that will keep company profits high and corporate taxes near zero!

      It is particularly bad policy for an underpopulated country — that is also headed over a demographic cliff due to aging — to be reducing the birth rate. The precise opposite needs to occur.

      The Full Employment Policy, state day care centres, state boarding schools (of G.P.S. grammar school quality), import substitution in all industries, and universal trade union membership are the solution. All policies that Murdoch will ensure you ever read about again, ever.

    • The economics of families not being able to live with one breadwinner is the incentive that drives DPB. And then when the guy has a job and the woman a benefit the government hires private investigators to drive them apart.

    • Maybe we should offer males vasectomies so that they can go around having sex with women on the benefit but not father children. It is reversible, has no impact on their bodies and contrary to the pill or an implant has no negative side effects for them.
      I know at least one bloke who fathered 3 children with two women, the last two in one year 🙂 All beautiful bubs, only one mum is working, dad is sometimes working.
      Did you know that divorced parents are single parents, that widowed parents are single parents, and that many parents – male / female alike were partnered when their children were born?
      The reasons for kids from single parents to fail are manifold and have more to do with ‘class’ then the fact that they are in a single parent household, or in a household where the grand parents do the child raising cause drugs and death got to their own kids whith equally shitty financial support from this state. Shitty unhealthy housing, shitty unhealthy food, shitty cheap clothing that makes them a target for bullying, not enough money for school trips/extras that make them a target for bullying, a stressed parent that tries to pay all bills, heath a leaky moldy house, and cooks tuna casserole five times a week do not make healthy kids and are not good for the parents either.

  4. “ Prison makes more damaged angry men, not less.”

    New Zealand needs better prisons, that’s obvious. Whose ideas to steal, that’s the question.

    • You can not expect people to be afraid all the time of those that have no regards for others. Labour had a chance to do some really good things and managed to squander a full fucking majority on cookies and bumkins. You don’t want people to vote in a hardline government with ‘tough on crime’ policies, then write a polite letter to the useless hacks in government – Justice, Police, Correction – and ask them to do their job and to keep NZ as crime free a country as can be.
      You can not have years of Anarcho Tyranny and then not expect people at some stage to just be fed up and done and dusted with that shit. Generally resulting in a vote for someone who will say that they are going to do something about it. I mean how many 15 year olds do we want shot simply for sitting in a car at the wrong time and place?

      So don’t blame ACT for being opportunistic here, blame Labour for not giving a shit about the well being of all people and for dropping the ball on policing (how much crime could be prevented by simply having boots on the ground), by not locking criminals up (9 month home d for a 18 year old 4 time rapist), and by hiring enough boots to staff our prisons correctly so that they are safe environments for prisoners and turnkey alike. Maybe build some houses, hire some social worker, make food a bit cheaper, hire some nurses and doctors, use that mental health budget and buy another bed for an inpatient………maybe maybe maybe…..

      3 full years of a full majority squandered, wasted, by little bloviating gasbags.
      Why be afraid of ACT, they can’t be worse then the current lot in Labour.

        • Why not apply the law, lock people up for the time they are found guilty for, staff prisons correctly, employ social workers and teachers to work in prisons, put boots on the ground to maybe prevent some crime, provide decent housing, provide enough affordable food for everyone, focus back on teaching kids that a future is possible, and so on and so forth.

          Why, any party – or better – all of the parties should be promoting this. Or is this in the too hard basket of our currently elected Labour – full majority btw – government.

      • Nice essay.
        All colours of politicians need to take note…and voters.
        We get the government we deserve. How do we get better outcomes.
        Hold them to account. Insist on better outcomes.

      • I can assure you New Zealand is still a safe place despite what your biases are telling you. watch out – a shadow. maybe it’s your own.

    • Not a lot of rehabilitation or retraining done in NZ Prison’s, just upgrading their crime skills and making new connections when they get out again, furthering their criminal careers.

      • unfortunately, human nature demands revenge not restitution. if only we could all lose our lizard brains.

      • The headline suggest that we cannot have crime and full prisons.
        I think both these things are very achievable.
        We must just try harder now that we know that we can’t empty the prisons to lower crime.

  5. Ok but we still need to build prisons, because we still haven’t dealt with: shit rehabilitation, poorly made sweat boxes, aging facilities (some of which prisoners have burnt down)…

    Our prisons should be reducing recidivism, making them the ideal place to send criminals.

      • At least prisons have a purpose.
        Therefore the practice of sending them home earlier and not there at all makes sense.
        Another labour victory.
        Since they are in government the gangs are finding it harder to find new members. That plan worked well!!!

  6. The achievement by Labour to get prison officers to do their jobs properly in helping prisoners to get the rights that they are entitled to. The muster has trended down. This is a great achievement and should be celebrated.

    Increase in crime that affects everyday NZErs? Nothing to celebrate here!

    Increase in assaults in prisons. 156% increase on assaults of prison guards. Not much to celebrate!

    Inmates appearing before review board without any plan for rehabilitation. Nothing to celebrate here!

    Time for government to step up.

    • Rehabilitation hasn’t been a priority with recent Government’s either Labour or National.

          • Not rehabilitating offenders costs even more, because they carry on committing crimes. More damage, more victims, more ruined lives, more imprisonment & justice costs, the costs just keep mounting. Also as Johan points out, it is bloody hard to do effective rehabilitation and requires massive changes in the prison system and society in general. Of course, there is always the Chinese solution at reducing re-offending, but that is never going to be palatable in a civilised Western nation.

  7. Perhaps if we cut Police numbers & stopped investigating “minor” offences, there’d be less arrests and thus less convictions & prison sentences. That would be one solution, less policing costs, no more clogged courts or overcrowded prisons. Or is that what we are doing already and it isn’t working?

    • Just imagine all the savings on judges salaries……..
      The lawyers lobby group will never allow that to happen…

  8. It seems rather pointless sometimes putting the case for a more humane prison system when a more humane society for the majority has not yet been won either! Thanks to Capitalism, Rogernomics, Climate Disaster, post colonial fallout, farmer arseholes, and general online madness we have a world teetering on the edge of self destruction. NZ with its small population could be so much better.

    But let’s not give up, respect the memories of Peter Williams and many others that have fought for penal reform and those that still do.

    The NZ “hang ’em high” brigade are tightly bound by their confirmation bias to vengeance rather than problem solving. Those on the receiving end of NZ Corrections do not spend a similar amount of time blogging one suspects.

    Scandinavian prisons are a good place to start for an alternative. Private Capital set up jails serving beans on paper plates are an abuse of not just the incarcerated, but the rest of us taxpayers too.

  9. prison might be very useful if we can get away from the US/UK revenge model and ?(yup my usual cry)adopt a scandinavian rehabilitation model….the recividism rates speak for themselves…but the hang draw and quarter them red meat is too attractive to pollies

  10. Does stealing Māori land count Henry the filth or is that merely confiscation utilizing the laws made up at the time to assimilate for example the Rebellious Act used to take most of Tainui land.

    • It’s never stealing if the Government takes something, it’s all perfectly legal and if it turns out that it actually wasn’t, they just change the law and make the changes retrospective.

      • We should lock them all up for theft also.
        Surely taking our money is theft.
        Giving some back can be used a extenuating circumstances and can be considered at sentencing.

  11. I have solutions. Do what I say. Is easy.
    Decriminalise all drugs. Criminalise then asset-strip all multi-billionaires and the four foreign owned banks stealing hundreds of dollars A SECOND in net profits annually and make housing everyone a priority.
    Then, conduct a royal commission of inquiry into where our agricultural exports revenue’s been going for ooooo…say, the last 140 years.
    I know, a bit extreme but fuck it. Just do it. Go on ! You can do it.
    Wipe off all mortgages to the foreign owned banks. All mortgages, immediately. Oh, the wailing and the moaning… I can just imagine. But then…. no mortgages. Think about that? Then drive right past the scum supermarket duopoly cartels and buy some eggs and bacon from jonkies pointlessly regulated farmers markets then go home and have a hearty breakfast and not give any fucks. AND, you can now spark up a dubie and make the sunshine feel warmer as you roll about on the lawn with the Mrs.
    Or? You can continue to live in fear and in debt through yet another winter while the multi-billionaires your bent government/s built get pissed in Italy. Or Portugal.
    Now tell me? Which is the more comfortable scenario for you? Be honest to yourself. Which do you prefer? Grass burns under the glare of a warm sun and the bulging eyeballs of the neighbours or knowing multi-billionaires are getting pissed on their super dinghies while sneering at you as they blame you for their greed?

  12. unfortunately, revenge is still the prime motivating factor in dealing with injustice. it takes a civilized mind to look past the act and into the motivations. of course , some people are just mentally incapable of determining right from wrong and should be locked up until they get it – or don’t. It’s the price we pay for a functioning society.

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