Monday March 27, 2017   Last updated 00:15AM
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Prison rehabilitation goal unrealistic
UMA Broadcasting Ltd

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Justice reform advocate Kim Workman says the Government's better public services target of reducing reoffending is unrealistic under the current policy of high imprisonment rates.

Dr Workman, an adjunct research associate with Victoria University's Institute of Criminology, says the 25 percent target set in 2012 was out of line with international research.

Progress was only achieved by manipulating the statistics, with reoffending counted only one year after the offender left prison, instead of the customary two years.

The Government also failed to publicly report the differential impact on Maori offenders, where reoffending has increased despite 10 years of effort.

He says the Government’s review of the Better Public Service Goals is an opportunity to come up with a reoffending target that is evidence-based and realistic.

International research suggests reoffending could be reduced by reducing the prison population, shortening sentences, and redirecting rehabilitation funding from prisons to community based rehabilitation.

There also needs to be changes in prisons to make them less dangerous, with the most recent statistics showing a sharp increase in prison suicides and reports of fight clubs, stand overs, and gang recruitment (especially in remand prisons).

 

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