Newshub Nation – how to fix a broken justice system

On Newshub Nation (they have rebranded this year) this morning:

On Newshub Nation; CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora Lance Norman, former prison inmate Alex Sweeney, Corrections Association Vice President Paul Dennehy and criminal defence lawyer Stephen Bonnar discuss why our justice system is broken and what can be done to fix it

Most on the panel say that punitive punishment has increased with insufficient rehabilitation and reintegration on release.

Overcrowding is bad, and pressure on staff is high and increasing.

Swney – prison is a miserable environment.

Norman – many people don’t belong there, they should be going into health facilities rather than the prison system.

Dennehy – 91% of prisoners have mental health or substance abuse issues.

There is close correlation between the failed ‘war on drugs’ and imprisonment rates.

Drug laws and drug rehabilitation need to be urgently reviewed and revamped.


And on a small but important fix:

Justice Minister meets with a man set to have his historical conviction for homosexuality expunged to hear about what the new law would mean to him

26 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  April 7, 2018

    Finland is an often cited system.
    Yup they have the mental health covered with heaps of agencies for prompt treatment.
    Oh I forgot they have 51 percent personal tax but I’m sure all those who are bleating about the injustice and ” lack of humane conditions” will accept that.

    • PDB

       /  April 7, 2018

      Pointless cherry-picking policies from other countries without context. Therefore associating their seemingly good mental health policies with their high personal tax rate in disingenuous.

      • Blazer

         /  April 7, 2018

        so what actual critique can you provide about the fact that 51 % tax works for…Finland?

        • PDB

           /  April 7, 2018

          They also have a 20% corporate tax rate – your point is?

      • NOEL

         /  April 7, 2018

        Ahhh…New Zealand has a underfunded Mental Health system and Finland has a well funded system.

        ” Corrections Association Vice President Paul Dennehy says the vast majority of people in prisons have some sort of mental health issue and staff lack training to deal with it ”

        Nah you’re right just an aberration

  2. PDB

     /  April 7, 2018

    “We need to stop locking away people who commit low level drug offences”

    This is simply not true, ‘low level’ drug offenders are not the ones filling our prisons. Mental health issues are not something particular to just the prison population, it is rife outside of prison but doesn’t lead most of these people to commit crimes. Just about every 2nd female in this country is on some sort of anti-depressant drug and if men were more likely to get assistance for their issues they would also be taking these in similar numbers.

    Everybody tip toes around the gangs issue as if that has nothing to do with crime or our prison population so whilst many treat them as just normal members of the community we have no hope of finding any real solution.

    • Callum

       /  April 7, 2018

      Read the court news (at least local to me), it takes a lot of hard work and criminal history to convince a judge to actually put you in jail. Repeat violent offenders, ongoing domestic abuse, drug dealers all getting community based sentences or home detention.It is a complete joke.

    • Blazer

       /  April 7, 2018

      ‘Just about every 2nd female in this country is on some sort of anti-depressant drug’…an incredible indictment on…you pick….’rockstar economy’-‘brighter future’-‘cusp of something special’….forget the ‘kiwi dream’.

      • PartisanZ

         /  April 7, 2018

        Yes and if men sought assistance they’d be on these drugs too …

        What’s that an indictment on? The drugs or the men?

    • Griff

       /  April 7, 2018

      Just about every 2nd female in this country is on some sort of anti-depressant drug

      Number of person prescribed with anti depressants in NZ 2016.
      300,000.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11870484
      Population of NZ.
      4,800,000.

      Why is it that the propensity to present alternative facts is so highly correlated with political ideology?
      Why do conservatives think making up shite is a valid way to rationally debate issues ?

      • PDB

         /  April 7, 2018

        Figure of speech Griff, ever heard of it? – the ‘just about’ sort of gives it away.
        The fact you ignore, and the point I was obviously making, is that usage is increasing fast.

        Also considering that the bulk of people in this country taking these drugs are female your 300,000/4.8 million is somewhat misleading as to the female usage.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  April 7, 2018

    This is from TOP policy, so I expect immediate ‘brain death’ from most readers …

    ” … the [cost] difference between reducing the prison population to 6,000 over the next 10 years – [eg down from our current 210 per 100,000 population to the OECD average of 114] – and allowing it to steadily grow [above 210] is conservatively $4.5 Billion. This money could be better used to kick start a virtuous cycle of rehabilitation, reduced crime and lower costs (as well as on better social policies [mental health] and/or tax cuts).”

    We don’t need to have 51% tax, although many Kiwis don’t mind paying more tax for better security and services, we just need to spend the money more wisely …

    • PDB

       /  April 7, 2018

      Making a generic statement about what should be done about the high prison population and actually doing it successfully are two different things.

      Ambulance at the end of the cliff type stuff – National’s long-term social investment policy was a big step in the right direction with full acknowledgment that in the short term things like the prison population would go up.

      • PartisanZ

         /  April 7, 2018

        If prison isn’t the absolute exemplar of “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” PDB then I am a Chimpanzees’ great-great-grand-nephew after all …

        National are bloody lucky they only got to talk-up and pontificate about ‘Social Investment’ for 3 or 4 years and never actually implemented it – funny that – because it would today be joining their growing list of abject failures …

        ” … the Government’s ‘Investment Approach’ sounds like an ideal way to address the growing inequalities and increasing hardship experienced by one in four children in Aotearoa.

        But instead of allocating more budget to social and education services to increase current levels of provision, instead of actually ‘investing’, the Government is cutting budgets. At the same time it is introducing a further layer of administration that will capture more of the already reduced budgets.” – Child Poverty Action – 15 sep 2016

        http://www.cpag.org.nz/breaking-down-the-social-investment-approach/

        National’s ‘Social Investment’ was arguably a kind of mutant neoliberal evil-speak personified.

        First, immediately save money on social provision, with notable ‘industry’ exceptions and privatization counter-balances [see ‘Third’ below]. This wins the confirmation bias voters’ support with “investment” newspeak … It’s gotta be better if it’s not “spending” but “investment”, Right?

        Second, involve ‘third parties’ more, including corporates in privatization arrangements, PPPs but especially involve the Charitocracy, potentially in preparation for Trustocratization of many Social Services.

        This is the palatable alternative to outright privatization, happening all around us as we speak. But where are the Mental Health Services they could be providing? Stuck getting through the “further layer of administrations'” vetting processes? Perhaps such Charitocracy Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug services are functioning but even more underfunded than State services?

        Third, selected “short-term” – though easily spun-out to longer term – ongoing State-Corporate-Capitalist industries receive massive private sector, PPP and tax funding – part of the latter being the social services savings from ‘First’ above – notably the Crime-and-Punishment industry, which neither our underfunded State Mental Health nor Social Investment Trustocracy Mental Health has any hope of remedying …

        Building more prisons, regardless of whether Corrections or Serco manage them, is a sure-fire vote winner …

        The problem with a State, PPP and/or Privatized Crime-and-Punishment ‘industry’ is where do you get your ‘profits’ from? Catching criminals, Right? Filling prison cells, Right?

        Fourth, consequently, no need to change any government policies which are the root cause of these problems in the first place …

        • PDB

           /  April 7, 2018

          Your dribble shows you have zero understanding of what social investment was actually about – more fool you.

        • Gezza

           /  April 7, 2018

          Quite a lot of that rant is worthwhile & valid pounts but you veer off the road here:

          The problem with a State, PPP and/or Privatized Crime-and-Punishment ‘industry’ is where do you get your ‘profits’ from? Catching criminals, Right? Filling prison cells, Right?

          Nobody’s catching criminals just to feed private industry profits. The police catch them as a consequence of their committing offences that finally result in incarceration. Whatever shortcomings there are in areas such as drug policy & mental health swrvice underfunding, don’t ruin the rest of your argument by talking shit like that.

          • Gezza

             /  April 7, 2018

            God I’m tired. Missing bloody dozens of typos today! Took on too many projects & up too late!

  4. Chuck Bird

     /  April 7, 2018

    The racist Maori on the panel was claiming racism,

    • Gezza

       /  April 7, 2018

      Better have a look tomorrow. Why do you say they were they racist?
      I was dead right when I said Winnie was just suckering votes off pakeha rednecks with his pre-election talk of a referendum on the Maori seats, eh?

  5. Zedd

     /  April 7, 2018

    I often hear that ‘drug offenders’ are either not imprisoned or only make up a small number of the inmates.. this maybe true, BUT; I also hear that over 50% of first offences are ‘drug related’, this gets many ‘into the sights’ of Police. This can lead to them to being ‘targeted for random stop & search’.. just on suspicion.
    btw; even cannabis possession can get 3 months in jail.. if the judge ‘see fit’

    Why do maori make up about 50% of all inmates ? (only 15% of total population) 😦

    The WORST thing that this Govt. could do, would be to build yet another prison.. as the Prison union guy stated SHOULD happen. It just further adds to the current regime, ‘lock em up’ . Prison should be the last option, not the FIRST.
    If you build more prisons.. they will inevitable end up full too
    Aotearoa/NZ needs to break this cycle of Cops V Gangs (Zero-tolerance Drug war mentality) & follow other OECD countries; Decrim./Regulate cannabis (R18) as a start. Many of these countries are now seeing their prison stats decreasing.. unlike NZ, that is amongst the highest per capita

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 8, 2018

      There is a subculture of violence, dishonesty and zero work ethic. Drugs and alcohol add fuel to that fire. Welfare sustains it.

      What should be done?

      • A lot of the problems are inter-generational do there’s no easy or quick fix. There’s no choice than to deal with the consequences – crime and addiction – and it’s obvious that the past and current ways of dealing with it have failed badly.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  April 8, 2018

          It’s more than inter-generational. Sub-culture = inter-generational + peers + rellies. Only two options – a) try to extract individuals, b) try to reform the whole environment that perverts them. Don’t see much effort on either.

          • Gezza

             /  April 8, 2018

            b) try to reform the whole environment that perverts them
            Some elaboration on what and how appreciated here.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 8, 2018

              Would have to be a major project for/in a community with huge local support. Can’t see it happening. Pretty much a religious conversion needed. As the missionaries attempted.

  6. lurcher1948

     /  April 7, 2018

    The blues lose again so sad” NOT” Watch the CANES on how to win, RUBBISH will always struggle