Tuesday, December 16, 2008
When hate warps social policy
Call for urgent action on jails
Up to four more prisons will be needed in the next eight years and there are concerns public safety may be at risk unless more prison staff can be found, Corrections has told the Government.
The department's briefing to Corrections Minister Judith Collins says urgent solutions are needed. Community probation services are already understaffed and struggling, and the prison muster will balloon beyond capacity in the next 18 months.
National's tough-on-crime policies, such as harsher bail laws now being considered under urgency and no parole for repeat violent offenders, will make the situation even worse, the report says. "Government decisions are required within the next few months on strategies to address looming capacity deficits, in both the community and prison settings."
Probation staff are already struggling, with 200 more probation officers, 17 psychologists and 50 support staff needed to meet current demand. Without more staff, public safety could be affected, the report says.
In prisons, existing beds will be filled by mid-2010, and 2200 more beds - the equivalent of four new prisons - will be needed in the next eight years.
When the hate that someone like Simon Powers uses to paint prison out to be some sort of under floor heated, plasma TV adult 3 star hotel to whip up public disgust and scream for harsher and harder sentences, and when you ram through Parliament in an unprecedented misuse of power changes to parole and bail laws, you get a ballooning of our prison system. Instead of giving extra funding to prisons, National will propose to privatize the current prison system by importing Dick Cheney’s private prison industry as the solution. We know prison is a corroding experience that dehumanizes the prisoner and yet we all keep that surprised look on our faces when they often re-offend. National want to lock up more NZers into this corrosive environment and in fact make it worse by having corporations run prisons, their profit incentive has NOTHING to do with the limited rehabilitation services we currently run and in fact their profit incentive only focuses on MORE people in MORE prisons for LONGER. We are exacerbating the current social hemorrhage that passes as our prison system, but the intrinsic hatred that has been fed by National and ACT makes an reasonable debate on the issue near impossible. We will reap a bitter harvest from this poisoned crop.
How’s that change feeling folks, is it like Obama yet?