Our prisons are a "moral and fiscal failure" - Bill English
Well, well, well - what do we have here. After pointing this very FACT out for almost a decade, I'm fairly chuffed that the (former once Brash is in)Finance Minister, Bill English has come to the same conclusion as me over our sensible sentencing trust lynch mob mentality towards prisons and punishment, they are a moral and fiscal failure!
We have a 'if it leads, it bleeds' mainstream media who whip violent crime up into a foam which generates righteous anger in the viewer watching which then gets cynically manipulated by Politicians like Clayton Cosgrove, Simon Power and of course Crusher Collins.
In March 2006, crime made up 22% of the 6pm One News hour and was featured 29% in the headlines, yet by March 2010 crime stories on the 6pm News made up only 14% of the stories in that month, yet was represented a staggering 35% of the time in the headlines. Even though news stories as a whole had slumped to 14% in March 2010 on the 6pm One News, it was represented 35% of the time in the headlines. The impact is that the shock value of crime is vastly over represented in the news headlines so the impression left with viewers is one of a mad max post apocalyptic nightmare requiring Dirty Harry and Garth McVicars to sort out.
Judith couldn't get cameras down to a car crushing site fast enough to show how tough she would be on boy racers while Simon Power has more than any other politician attempted to portray prison as an adult Disneyland with under floor heating, flat screen TVs and landscaping to rival the great gardens of Europe.
The abomination National have now turned Prisons into by privatizing the prison system so Serco (who have an appalling abuse record overseas)can make a profit out of it is the worst warping of social policy for corporate benefit this country has ever embarked upon.
While Greenpeace has had it's charity status stripped, what about the Sensible Sentencing Trust, exactly who funds them?
Does the Sensible Sentencing Trust take money from the private prison industry or not?
We know that The GEO Group who were pitching here in NZ are major finders of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C. think tank that lobbies for tough-on-crime legislation and free-market principles such as privatization. These think tanks whip up the public debate to scream pitch and the kneejerk politicians do the rest. In NZ, the Sensible Sentencing Trust refuses to disclose who funds them, GEO fund these groups overseas, do they do it here? Has the Sensible Sentencing Trust been funded by GEO to push for longer sentences because the only people who really benefit from the 3 strikes locked up forever raw meat law and order policy that was hypocritically rammed through by the Sensible Sentencing Trusts David Garrett is the private prisons about to pick up the contracts to our ever increasing incarceration rate.
Into this issue comes the (former once Brash is in)Finance Minister, Bill English's comments in the budget notes that our prisons are a 'moral and fiscal failure'. His Government of course picked up where Labour dropped off in manipulating crime anger for political gain so his crocodile tears at the manner in which rednecks have allowed hate to replace reason as social policy is highly dubious.
Currently National are bleeding votes to the right and losing moderates who are fleeing the possibility of a Brash-Key Government so Judith is out there dog whistling for the right wingers to come back with her calls to limit abortions to teenage girls while Bill is left to try and whistle the moderates back by damning an empire of incarceration and suffering that his Party has done all they can to build in the first place.
Whatever (former once Brash is in)Finance Minister, Bill English's political reasons for attacking the redneck lynch mob National have fostered, the fact still remains that we now finally have someone pointing out our Prison Nation for what it is - a moral and fiscal failure.
It's time to replace hate with reason in social policy, and maybe, just maybe, the turning point against the Sensible Sentencing rednecks who have led the prison bubble may have been found.
Next step - get private prisons out of NZ.