More support proposed for released prisoners

Currently prisoners are released from prison with $350, only if they have photo ID. Immediate job prospects for many of them will be poor. It must be difficult to get set up and survive. It must be easy for them to quickly go back to old acquaintances and old habits, with a high chance of reoffending.

60% of prisoners are re-convicted within two years of release – but they will start re-offending sooner, possibly much sooner. And this only measures those who get caught.

NZ Herald: Released prisoners set up to fail due to poor support – justice advisory group

The Government is being urged to increase the amount of money it gives prisoners when they are released – if it wants them to stay out of jail.

The head of an advisory group on justice reforms said a payment of just $350 was setting prisoners up to fail, and many of them couldn’t even access it.

Chester Borrows, a former National Party Minister and chair of the Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group, wants the payment to double.

He said poor support was a major factor contributing to a high rate of reoffending.

Doubling it to $700 may not make much difference. You can’t survive for long on that.

The group will make recommendations to the Government to improve the criminal justice system – described by Justice Minister Andrew Little as “broken” – in an interim report in March, and a final report in August.

Little told the Herald he looked forward to the reports, but agreed that released prisoners needed more support.

Released prisoners can only get the $350, called the Steps to Freedom grant, if they have photo ID to set up a bank account. Many ex-prisoners did not have this, Borrows said.

“That’s supposed to give them accommodation and keep them fed for two weeks until their first benefit or pay packet”.

“If you’ve got to rent a room, you’ve got to pay a bond and usually a couple of week’s rent in advance – how are you going to do that? And you’re coming out with nothing in your cupboards. How much are two weeks’ groceries?

“And if they keep you in Christchurch because there’s no room in the Auckland Prison, and then release you in Christchurch and don’t pay for you to get home, how does that person get back to their family support? You would have to say that these people are set up to fail.”

I suspect that some people will not support ‘hand outs’ for crims, but the alternative, returning to a life of crime and ending up in prison again, will be a lot more expensive, and not just through the cost of incarceration but also the cost of crime to yhe public.

 

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21 Comments

  1. Chuck Bird

     /  28th January 2019

    I am very much tough on crime but these proposals make sense.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  28th January 2019

      I had to laugh when our poster that said that Act was Tough on Crime was neatly altered by some wit to read that Act was Tough on Grime.

      Reply
  2. PartisanZ

     /  28th January 2019

    We should always choose prevention ahead of retribution … Always!

    We’re Christians aren’t we!?

    Work to prevent crime in the first place and work to prevent re-offending … All ways!

    Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  28th January 2019

    ‘whats crime today…may become..passe’-TOP.

    Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  28th January 2019

    every effort needs to be made.. to ‘keep released prisoners.. on the straight & narrow’ NOT just ‘lets guess how long before they reoffend & are back inside !’

    the whole ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric needs to be given a ‘lets get real’ added to it. Prison should be the last option; after education, fines, comm. work etc. but…NOT the first one, as some seem to think: ‘Lock ’em all up !!!!” :/

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  28th January 2019

      We don’t “lock ’em all up” any more Zedd … We don’t have enough prisons to do that!

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  28th January 2019

        tautoko PZ.. But the ‘REAL Tough on crime’ brigade, are still being heard, by many MPs

        Reply
        • PartisanZ

           /  28th January 2019

          True … Plus, the PPP Corporations & their Blue Tinge Brigade politicians have a vested interest in building more prisons …

          So it’s ‘Tough on Crime’ with financial benefits for everyone … via ‘Trickle Down’ of course …

          Reply
    • Zedd

       /  28th January 2019

      obviously some crimes are likely.. ‘do not pass go or collect $200.. go Straight to Jail’; but this should be mostly for violent crimes/causing death

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  28th January 2019

        Yes … and for really significant fraud, which will mostly be White Collar Crime …

        Reply
        • Zedd

           /  28th January 2019

          “White collar crime’ wots that ?

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  28th January 2019

            White collar crime is rorting your business or corporation, Blue color crime is rorting your employer, and No collar crime is rorting a benefit …

            Reply
  5. Duker

     /  28th January 2019

    Prisoners are supported now …they are mostly under ‘intense supervision’ when released , so where they live and so on is looked into.
    Is this only for some very short term prisoners who arent on parole ?

    Anyway in lots of cases ‘pre release’ happens anyway, maybe they are only in prison on weekends, some with job skills get ‘work release’ before mandatory release.
    Then there is pre release with an ankle bracelet, where they are going ‘back home’

    Reply
  6. artcroft

     /  28th January 2019

    Robertson to teachers: “No”. To midwives “No”. To doctors “No”. To prisoners “Yes”. Hmmmm.

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  28th January 2019

      Comparin’ your tin cans with your glass bottles on the fence there again Arty? For shootin’ practice …

      Them tin cans you can use many times … holey like … but them bottles is done-for, sharp ‘n’ dangerous once they been smashed by your bullets …

      Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  28th January 2019

    These all sound like they make sense, but everyone seems to be gasbagging about an interim report that hasn’t even been presented yet; and some what’s being discussed seems anecdotal. It will be good to see the report but this I imagine is just some preparatory work laying the ground for easier public acceptance of some changes.

    My understanding is that people don’t get locked up for first offences or minor offences, so I’d like to see some actual meaningful stats on offending types come out with the report.

    Any measures to stop offending and reoffending have got to be worth implementing – or even trying. But they will need resourcing and planning & co-odinating at local level = $$.

    Inadequate measures will just be a waste of time and money and if offending rates don’t decline along with a more sensible, less punitive approach to non-violent. non-serious offending, then a change of government will potentially see the incarceration rate climb again.

    Putting people straight back into the same environment and conditions that made them offenders has always been a handbook for reoffending.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  28th January 2019

      I suppose that people have thought of boarding houses for crims when they are released.

      Photo ID shouldn’t be a problem; make new ones just for that.

      Good luck with solving this; after thousands of years, nobody has yet.

      Reply
  1. More support proposed for released prisoners — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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