GUEST BLOG: Jackie Foster – REHABILITATION MAKES ECONOMIC SENSE

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Having been asked to appear before the parliamentary Select Committee to orally present submissions on a petition I presented last year, I wanted to publicly speak around my concerns in hope of getting a common-sense conversation going. 

As CEO of a community focused support/advocacy group, I need to promote common sense political thinking but also logical thinking, which to be honest sometimes we, as the public, don’t see in the political forum. 

Common rhetoric in the public arena is “who cares about prisoners” or “do the crime, do the time” but without thinking of the cost involved of recidivist offending and reimprisonment, or even simply reoffending with a community-based sentence. 

The cost on the economy is in the hundreds of millions and rising, so isn’t it time we start thinking outside the square and working out how we as a country can start addressing this real burden on the taxpayer? 

In April last year SJA presented a petition to parliament , which Green MP Golriz Ghahraman sponsored,  seeking to amend section 52 of the corrections act, asking that the chief executive of Corrections must ensure that rehabilitative programs are provided to prisoners sentenced to a  term of imprisonment within 90 days of their sentence commencement date and for long term prisoners the same within 365 days of their sentence. 

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Currently we have prisoners who are serving a 6-year term of imprisonment, with no rehabilitation 2 years into their sentence. 

I hear people saying, “who cares”? I say we need to and here is why. 

Any prison term less than life is eligible for parole after serving a third of their sentence, that’s the law plain and simple, but without rehabilitation we have people appearing before the parole board getting declined due to lack of rehabilitation. 

Does it not make economic sense to get our people rehabilitated and back into society, working and contributing, paying tax, and improving their lives having been punished for their offending, or is it better to leave them in prison costing more than $150,000.00 per annum to keep behind bars doing nothing. 

Social Justice Aotearoa is not interested in sympathising with offenders who have committed crimes, our sole focus is common sense legislation that works and makes sense, in line with similar sized European countries.

 

 

Jackie Foster, CEO, Social Justice Aotearoa

13 COMMENTS

    • Yes, well said Gordon.

      They fall under the Aaron Gilmore sense of entitlement logo “don’t you know who I am”.

      • And also Tory Whanau is in that club too now, but Aaron lost his job….Tory still has hers.
        Hmmm let me think why that could be.

  1. And that’s even without getting into the prisoners held on remand for months… a year… two years… even more.

    Very functional!

  2. If we copy the Norwegian model do we copy there high income and white demographic to?

    There are plenty of other nations similar to New Zealand like Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa that we could copy but more importantly see what they are doing wrong and kind of like not do that???

    • Sam, Fiji, Tonga or Samoa have no comparison to New Zealand. Starting with population none of those countries has reached 1 million yet. There economies are nothing like ours and their judicial systems are still in the 80’s .

  3. I find it pretty hard to argue against this position. Rehabilitation may not work for everyone but the opportunity for it should always be there and to go for years without being offered is just asinine.

    • Depends what you mean by reformd. Say we give each of the 10,000 prisoners a counselor each. Or every 20 prisoners a counsellor each. You might be able to convince them to open up but you would have done nothing to provide alternative means to putting food on the table other than criminality. The whole system and society no matter how hard you try and screen for prision guards who won’t abuse there power just do not want prison inmates earning 70k a year legally. They just don’t want it. They’d rather use rehabilitation as a way of punishing prisoners more.

    • Jack, I hope Jackie reads these comments. Jack I think Jackie needs advocate for better education in this country, maybe she could advocate for you, because with an answer like that it is clear you are clueless!

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