It's time to make the punishment fit the white-collar crime
from the Nelson Mail (NZ) editorial:
....it's not easy to maintain a clear-eyed focus on justice.
Very few New Zealanders will feel that this is what happened when Blue Chip co-founder Mark Bryers entered the dock on Thursday to be sentenced on 34 charges. Most, and particularly the Blue Chip investors who have lost their nest eggs, will feel that his sentence was a perfect case of the "slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket".
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.
Proposed "three strikes" legislation in New Zealand
In recent months, the three strikes legislation has created concern across the political and ideological spectrum. The Maxim Institute, sponsored a speaking tour by Professor Warren Brookbanks and Senior Lecturer Richard Ekins of Auckland University. They also published an excellent report setting out the facts about the three strikes legislation.
....Brookbanks and Ekins report “Criminal Injustice and the Three Strikes Law” considers the legislation is both wrong and unjust for the following reasons:
Restorative Justice Centre's submission to Ministry of Justice on victims' rights
The Restorative Justice Centre at AUT University in New Zealand has responded to a discussion draft titled "A Focus on Victims of Crime: A Review of Victims' Rights" on how the government might better address the needs of crime victims. Following are excerpts from RJC's response:
9. The central justice needs of victims are submitted to be accountability, vindication, empowerment, information, truth-telling and future safety. Only the first and last of these are addressed (to some degree) by the current legal process, and then only when the offender is convicted. Thus in crimes that go largely unreported, such as sexual offences, there can be no feeling of accountability in the absence of alternative processes, and victims remain unsafe.
10. The remaining four central justice needs are those which Dr Howard Zehr, known to and used by MoJ as a consultant in restorative justice, has said are “especially neglected”. They are next mentioned separately. However they overlap with needs identified by other writers.
Parole denied for repeat drink-driver who killed woman
from Radio New Zealand News:
The Parole Board is encouraging the family of a woman killed by a repeat drink-driver to consider a restorative justice meeting with him.
Jonathan Barclay is serving a prison term of five years and six months for the manslaughter of 20-year-old Debbie Ashton, whom he killed in a head-on car crash near Nelson.
Let mana grow
New Zealand and the US bear some resemblance as big-time human lock-ups. The US is world leader in incarceration and New Zealand is in the top quartile. New Zealand is the 125th most populated country in the world out of 258, yet the 57th most incarcerated. This gives new meaning to the cliché “punching above our weight.” I outlined three things New Zealand could offer to the US in this area: learnings about our system of restorative justice (with its emphasis on “repairing the harm”), our Maori-Pakeha experience of biculturalism, and an appreciation of the development of mana, that special Maori concept denoting personal bearing, presence, and character.
Victim Support workers told to ignore political comments
From the article on 3news.co.nz:
Volunteers at a Victim Support conference this weekend were urged to ignore the "victims versus offenders" debate from politicians....
Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment Kim Workman said this kind of "oppositional thinking" was counterproductive and unhelpful.
"We must reject any proposition that potentially divides us.
"Many of you work with both victims and offenders, in the areas of family violence, child abuse, restorative justice, and prisoner reintegration.
"Our success depends on our ability to work effectively within the justice system, across the board, in order to reduce victimisation."
Coolstore fire inquiry in doubt
There may be no independent inquiry into the Icepak Coolstore disaster that killed fireman Derek Lovell and injured seven colleagues.
But Mr Lovell's family and the injured firemen could be in line for a payment from the coolstore company, which has admitted breaching safety regulations.
When I shook his hand it was cold and sweaty. He was clearly nervous to meet me - much more than I was to meet him. I was impressed that he had waited for me. The others had all gone out for their allocated 'yard time'. Just one hour a day in Maxi - quite a lot to give up on the off chance that he might be included in the programme. Interviewing him was difficult - he was so desperate to be on the programme that he was almost paralysed with nerves. Every now and then he forgot what we were talking about and I became concerned that he might be unstable. As a new facilitator I did not want to have a safety risk on my hands, so I said no to him. However, this decision didn't sit right with me. I felt uneasy, sad... wrong.
A justice that reconciles -- new study guide from Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
from the Caritas website:
Social Justice Week in 2009 (13-19 September) calls for a new attitude to crime and punishment. Caritas has produced resources to help Catholic parishes, schools and youth groups – as well as the wider community – reflect on issues to do with criminal justice and reconciliation in Aotearoa New Zealand.