Aotearoa McPrison Nation
As we build towards our prison Nation we must now fear that corporate profits from the private prison industry are influencing raw meat law and order policy that seeks to lock people up for longer and longer in the same way the mining industry influence policy to mine conservation land. Seeing as the Sensible Sentencing Trust refuse to allow their donations to be public, tat influence may already be here.
The McPrison Nation is already bulging at the seams and is leading to policy change within the prison environment destined to cause grief...
Prisoners prepare for smoking ban
Almost 2000 prisoners nationwide have taken steps to quit smoking the habit in the lead up to this year's prison smoking ban, the Corrections Department says.
...the Joke here is that the reason why prisoners are being forced to quit smoking is because prisons will be double bunked because we are throwing them into prison as quickly as we possibly can, and that the Government would be open to legal action by double bunked prisoners who got ill from second hand smoke.
The conditions of aggression being created in over crowded, double bunked prisons don't matter because as a society we don't care for prisoners rights. Nothing highlights that better than the despicable decision to alienate prisoners even further by stripping away their rights to vote.
Gordon Campbell at scoop.co.nz point out the words used by the European commissioner of human rights. Thomas Hammerberg...
“It may be sobering to remind ourselves that democracy was once established through the idea of universal suffrage. Our forefathers accepted the principle that not only male persons, nobles, and those who owned property or paid taxes should have the right to vote, but everyone – irrespective of their status in society. We may now feel that some of these right-holders do not deserve this possibility, but to exclude them is to undermine a crucial dimension of the very concept of democracy – and human rights.”
It costs $100 000 per year to house a prisoner, money that could be much better spent elsewhere, yet our appetite to keep throwing NZers into prison continues unabated, as Tapu Misa points out...
In 1999, we imprisoned 150 people per 100,000; 10 years later that had risen to 195 per 100,000 - one of the highest in the OECD, and significantly higher than rates in Australia, England, Ireland and Canada. Yet it's made no real difference to our crime rates, as even Treasury has acknowledged. In a 2009 report, it argued that "investing in reducing the number of people who enter the criminal justice system would likely provide better value for money - and better societal outcomes - than locking up more people".
...and we just can't wait to speed the process up to throw people into prison despite these changes deforming our legal rights...
Judges at loggerheads with Govt over new law
The Chief Justice has made a stinging criticism of the Government's sweeping reforms of the criminal justice system. Dame Sian Elias' objections - revealed in a submission to Parliament's justice and electoral committee - place the Government and the judiciary firmly at loggerheads. Dame Sian said the proposed changes were being made too quickly and threatened a defendant's long-standing right not to help the prosecution. The reforms are in the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill, which is before the committee.
...and the Government now wants to raise the threshold on bail to stop teenagers from being automatically considered for bail.
The speed with which we want to throw NZers into an over crowded, violent, dehumanizing prison system for private corporate profit is bewilderingly counter productive when one considers these prisoners must one day be released.