Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth to Pita Sharples - you’re being taken for a ride!

Minister backs separate prison unit for Maori
A separate Maori prison unit where the inmates go flatting and the focus is on healing is under consideration by the Government. The "alternative rehabilitation centre" is being promoted by Associate Corrections Minister and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples. The National Government is open to the concept. Corrections Minister Judith Collins says she is "very keen" if it can be shown to reduce the Maori crime rate. Dr Sharples wants the 60-bed institution to be located in an urban centre so education and employment opportunities can be provided to Maori prisoners "who are determined to learn, heal and socialise". He said the institution would still have security measures like other prisons: "There'll be locks on the gates". Dr Sharples said he had previously referred to the centre as an "alternative prison". It would have fewer jailers and "more healers, teachers, social workers".

Well said Dr Sharples, and about time! We SHOULD see our prisons as a place where broken people heal and liberty granted only when the possibility of recidivism has been dramatically reduced that way parole could actually mean something and be used a s tool to moderate prisoner behaviour rather than what it is being used as now which is a mechanism to free up prison beds. Losing ones liberty is punishment enough a fact so many on the right don’t grasp, but why should this vision of what prisons should become be limited only to Maori, why couldn’t that healing mindset be used for all prisons?

The ones I feel sorry for are the rednecks, here they have Judy ‘crusher’ Collins, their poster girl for public floggings and David ‘homophobic drunk’, Garret, the poster boy for public hangings both agreeing with giving Maaaari softy prison options – which is why Dr Pita Sharples should be so careful, because he’s being taken for a ride. Garrett and Collins haven’t suddenly woken up today caring about the welfare of Maori prisoners, far from it, they want the private prison industry (an industry that may or may not have ‘donated’ money to the Sensible Sentencing Trust AND the National Party, we can’t know because both organizations are so secretive about who donates to them) to take over with the horrific warping their profit motives create. Private Prisons don’t give a fuck about rehabilitation, they care only to have more people in more prisons for longer periods of time, especially now our prisons have been changed into work camps, remember under National no slave work = no parole. These private prisons DON’T save money, they only warp the prison numbers, and overseas they fund victim rights groups so that the public debate becomes so shrill that only 'lock-em-up' longer becomes the only sound heard.

Garrett and Collins are setting Sharples up, they’ll give him his ‘Maori Unit’ but it will be in the form of a private prison, if Sharples idea of jails as healing places are so good, why the hell can’t they be adopted within the public service, how come they can only be adopted in the private system which overseas evidence shows provide a worse service than the current public system?

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