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Kim Workman

Kim Workman

Kim Workman (of Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitaane descent) is the Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, "a strategic initiative to raise the level of public debate about the use of prison and alternative forms of punishment" in New Zealand. He is a retired public servant,   whose career spans roles in the Police, the Office of the Ombudsman, State Services Commission, Department of Maori Affairs, and Ministry of Health.  He was Head of the Prison Service from 1989 – 1993.  He is currently a Senior Associate of the Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University.

As its National Director, Kim led Prison Fellowship New Zealand to become a significant provider in the criminal justice sectors, establishing the first faith-based prison unit in the British Commonwealth, a mentoring programme for released prisoners, and becoming the principal provider of in-prison restorative justice services. 

In 2006 Kim joined with Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army, to launch the “Rethinking Crime and Punishment” Strategy, a project which he still directs. Kim was made a Companion of the Queens Service Order in 2007.  In August 2008, Kim was appointed as a Commissioner to the Families Commission.

Kim can be reached at director@rethinking.org.nz

Restorative justice: Victims, violators and community -- the path to acceptance
from the paper presented by Kim Workman at the International Conference and Workshops on REstorative Justice, Human Rights and Peace Education: ....As Toki explains, “for Māori a form of utu, or reciprocity to restore the balance, is always necessary. Although both punishment and utu involve a deliberate response to an offence and aim to achieve retribution, they differ in important aspects. Ethically speaking, punishment can be forgone, but utu cannot; punishment should be unpleasant enough to deter, but utu may be entirely friendly and welcome; punishment should be confined to offenders who have been proven guilty of intentional offences, but utu may be exacted from individuals who have done no wrong. This different conceptual thinking cannot be accommodated in the existing criminal justice system.
Restorative Justice
Having worked with Prisoners on Parole, I am a strong supporter of restorative Justice. And I certainly believe that we can learn a lot from [...]
restoritve justice
I believe the plan was well formated it was cultrally appropriate and safe after all said and done that is a maori model and it [...]
Lessons in transformation: "You gotta smile at the little f…ers"
By KIm Workman Last night, Maori Television screened the first of a two part programme dealing with the issue of family violence and child abuse. ‘Tamariki Ora - A New Beginning’ was a defining moment for Maori. It showed Maori men acknowledging that the abuse they received as children, turned them into abusers of their own children. But it also showed the extent to which whanau (families) are acknowledging the issues, forging their own solutions, and actively working within their whanau and the community to encourage positive, loving relationships. I recall in my own marae (*meeting house) , less than 20 years ago, female elders defending a male elder who had sexually abused a visiting school child, as being a practise that was culturally acceptable in traditional times. We all knew that was nonsense, but no one had the guts to face the issue head on. Those days are now well and truly gone. I wept tears at the programme – but they were tears of joy. From this day on, no one will ever be able to say that Maori are failing to take responsibility for their own behaviour.
Grubby white collar crime: Life without an ethical framework
by Kim Workman Justice is not blind -- she very often "peeks" to determine the race, economic status, sex, and religion of persons prior to determination of guilt. Constance Slaughter-Harvey, first African-American woman to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi The New Zealand media has been awash over the last few days, with news about the unauthorised credit card purchases by former Ministers of the Crown, including purchases for flowers, massages, and a set of golf clubs. While they have all paid the money back, it was a clear breach of parliamentary service rules. It is a practise that in the business sector would result in withdrawal of credit privileges, and possible dismissal. Former Cabinet Minister Shane Jones, although not the biggest spender, publicly confessed to hiring around 50 porno movies while staying at hotels, and has come in for special media treatment. His wife and family are furious with him, and those of us who regard him as potentially a significant Maori political statesman, are by turns, angry with him, and saddened. I spoke with Shane yesterday at the airport, and we shared about the cathartic nature of confession, and its spiritual value.
Three strikes: A blot on our judicial landscape
from the article by Kim Workman: The passing into law of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill (the three strikes legislation) last week, was a milestone of a kind – it marked the passing into law of arguably the worst piece of criminal justice legislation in New Zealand history. While the legislation is a shocker, the way in which it was managed through the legislation process is a case study in political manipulation of the democratic process, lending weight to Lord Acton’s famous words, “All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Political Prisoners are Real
Prisoners send me blog posts for the blog POLITICAL PRISONRS at http://politicalprisoner.wordpress.com These are real letters sent to me to be posted online, by prisoners [...]
inhumane treatment of prisoners
I appreciate the posting of this article by Mr. Kim Workman. I have the greatest respect for his work. It is a sad fact that [...]
Can prisoners also be victims? Promoting injustice through legislation
by Kim Workman Last week’s introduction of the Prisoners' and Victims' Claims (Expiry and Application Dates) Amendment Bill, brings to mind one of the most shameful incidents in the history of New Zealand’s prison system. As Head of Prisons at the time, it gives me no great pleasure to reflect on the incident and the subsequent political response to it. In January 1993, three young prisoners at Mangaroa (now Hawkes Bay) prison were systematically beaten and tortured by prison officers. They held the young men naked in outside exercise yards, and used hit squads to repeatedly beat them over a three day period. The prisoners were initially denied access to medical support for injuries which included bruising and cracked bones.
Kim Workman: Communities of Restoration – Thinking Biblically, Speaking Secularly
For more than five years, Prison Fellowship New Zealand has run a 60 bed faith based unit at Rimutaka Prison, near Wellington. He Korowai Whakapono (HWK) is a 60 bed unit based at run in a partnership agreement between Prison Fellowship NZ (who provide the programmes staff, programmes and volunteers), and the Department of Corrections, (who provide the facilities and custodial staff.) It is a Christ-centred, transformational approach, based on a programme of spiritual teaching and prayer, with an emphasis on mutual accountability, and positive social engagement. Prisoners serving their last two years of a sentence can volunteer for the programme, which lasts around 18 months. Eight months before release, prisoners are matched with a mentor who will prepare them for release, and continue to mentor them for up to two years following release.
Kim Workman: My first experience with restorative justice
I have often wondered what restorative justice practitioners would have thought of the process. While much of what happened was culturally appropriate, it may well have been unacceptable in a western setting. The victim, as far as I could determine, did not seem to be traumatised by sharing her story and innermost feelings with the community - nor was she subsequently stigmatised by the villagers as a victim of incest. The penalty was quite severe, and yet at the end of the process, there was provision for reconciliation and full community restoration.
Three strikes: A blot on our judicial landscape
The passing into law of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill (the three strikes legislation) last week, was a milestone of a kind – it marked the passing into law of arguably the worst piece of criminal justice legislation in New Zealand history. While the legislation is a shocker, the way in which it was managed through the legislation process is a case study in political manipulation of the democratic process, lending weight to Lord Acton’s famous words, “All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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