Professor calls for better NZ prison conditions
Sun, 27 Jan 2013 6:21p.m.
By Susie Nordqvist
A leading criminologist says New Zealand jail cells should be more like Finland's – equipped with televisions and coffee machines.
In a new book, Professor John Pratt says making prisons more user-friendly could help rehabilitate criminals and save the country money by slashing rates of reoffending.
But critics have slammed the proposal.
Inmates in Finland can watch television in their rooms, make coffee and they're even entrusted with knives. Victoria University criminologist Professor Pratt says that's how it should be in New Zealand too.
“They show it's possible to have much lower rates of imprisonment, much better conditions and much higher levels of public expenditure on much better things like education,” says Professor Pratt.
Professor Pratt says prison sentences in New Zealand should be slashed, the three strikes law abolished and parole made more easily available.
The belief in Nordic counties is that prisons should resemble the outside world as much as possible so that prisoners have a higher chance of reintegrating back into society and are less likely to reoffend.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust says Professor Pratt's comments are offensive to victims of crime.
“I think Mr Pratt is out of touch,” says Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson Ruth Money. “I think if Mr Pratt was a victim of crime he would have a very different take on the world.”
Leigh-Anne Mullins' father was stabbed to death at his South Auckland home in 1999. She says imposing more lenient prison conditions would victimise people further.
“It will never go away, the pain is always there,” she says. “The nightmares are always there. Seeing what had happened, the offenders – trying to keep them inside is what we need to do.”
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the world, and the cost of housing a prisoner is about $90,000 a year. While The Sensible Sentencing Trust says that's money well spent on keeping victims of crime safe, Professor Pratt says it's like throwing it down a black hole and our prisoners often come out worse people than when they went in.
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28/01/2013 12:59:03 p.m.
your all a bunch of idiots... instead if moaning on here get out there and do something about it.. oh yeah thats right your kiwis.. lazy.no wonder this country is run by fools because no one stands up to them... theres a hell of a lot more people in the streets than there is in parliment.. use your voice and say it to there faces.. or you could post on here then go back to your couch..moroons
28/01/2013 12:16:25 p.m.
jessie king wrote:
cyf care and protection residence - Ministry of Social ...well i think kids in syf care should get tv's in there cells as well after all they are just kids and yes they are in a kids prison.I have seen in side and they are prison's for kids what a shame for new Zealand we rubbish other country's for having kids in prison but yet we do the same and hear nothing of it.
28/01/2013 12:07:23 p.m.
Jail is a place to learn how to be a better criminal...its like university for crims...they get a pretty easy ride and they get free food, drugs, tv,dont have to work and get to network with other crims...even heard of some inmates getting a woman inside.. .this guys researcher should be fired and he should get an actual clue on whats happening out there...ignorant hard?! ?
28/01/2013 11:49:44 a.m.
Real kiwi wrote:
What a Pratt.... Prisoners already get more than the average Kiwi. I cant afford 3 square meals after paying my rent , power etc... Bring back chain gangs and public stoning as well and leave them in jail doing Hard time.. VICTIMS matter, CRIMS do NOT
28/01/2013 10:43:19 a.m.
long lag wrote:
What we need in prisons is chain gangs. A person will only change when a person wants to, Dylan said it as someone who went through the system. If you refuse to toe the line you are put on a chain gang with no perks, if you continue with your gang culture while in prison, you are on the chain gang, if you standover people, chain gang with no perks. if you accept you need to change and want too you are put on the programsand get you perks if you revert back to your old ways, back to the chain gang, no perks. Complete all your courses with top marks you are on the list for parole and possible time off your sentence and out to prove your self. YOU HAVE TO WISH TO CHANGE TO MAKE CHANGE.
28/01/2013 10:21:30 a.m.
As a side note to my last post. We have an issue with lowlife scumbag gangs here in NZ that Finland does not have. May have to look at horses for courses before adopting a one-fix-for-all policy.
28/01/2013 7:41:31 a.m.
This idiot need to research before he writes, he needs to have a close look at what they get now. Self Care units, Pow Security Units. Units run by outside providers that give them anything they want. The have this now. This only gives them reason to come back, once back they don't pay tax, power, water, rates, rent, don't need to buy cloths, shavers, soap tooth paste, toilet paper, tea all meals provided just to name a few. They now see this as a reason too come back once they decide that taking responsibility for the family is too hard. Prison should be a place they don't want to come to, not a place to kick back and have every thing given to them. Last time I wanted to be waited on it cost me $1,000 at a resort hotel.
28/01/2013 7:29:24 a.m.
16 years ago my son was killed when a group of 3 drunken 'Indigenous NZer's' met him on his way home and beat him to death with a cricket bat. He would have been 34 now. But a lily-livered judge said it was not murder because it was not 'pre-meditated' and two got only 12 year sentences while the other got 14 years. My son's life was worth more than that. The men are not out of prison except for one who was back in less than 4 months after getting out. To cure crime we do not give them televisions and coffee machines. To cure crime we call murder - murder, not manslaughter. We give them life and make it mean total life. My son's sentence by these three animals was 'death'. . . no future family, no children, no contributing to society, no holidays with his family, no seeing his baby sister get married or able to hold his new born nephew or even have children of his own. . . . just death!! I do not want these bastards sitting in a nice warm prison with heated floors, watching television and drinking their coffees, luxaries my son will never experience. Their are 5 criminals in this case, the three who killed him, the judge that let them off so lightly, and the government that won't heed what the people want and continue to make idle promises.
28/01/2013 1:21:24 a.m.
Maybe we should take some of that on board. Yes we need to punish crims for their crimes but we have a duty to make sure we minimalise the reisk of them reoffending. Maybe the last six months to a year of their sentance should be in a flatting or community house situation within the prison with an intense rehab focus.
27/01/2013 11:47:25 p.m.
this guy is way behind the 8 ball... NZ have had "Self-care" units for years, where minimum security prisoner live in a house on prison grounds, do their own shopping and cooking etc... perhaps he needs to actually do some research!!!!
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