Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Kerre Woodham: We need both punishment and rehabilitation

Well, the National Party delegates and the party faithful didn't have a weekend off.

This was their party conference weekend, so it was all guns blazing as the faithful gathered together to hear how New Zealand would look under a National government, and more specifically, how National was going to get them the votes that would enable them to form a government.

They didn't really introduce anything new and experimental. The party stuck to its greatest hits, fixing the economy, pointing out Labour's out of control spending and the big one, law and order.

The policies announced were largely around law and order, among them imposing a new 40% limit on the amount by which a judge can reduce a sentence. A victim's advocate is welcoming Nationals plan. Ruth Money says while a judge's discretion is important, some discounts had got way out of control and did not give justice to victims.

And I absolutely agree that victims need to feel that they have received justice, not just that they have sat there and witnessed the law being administered. But often the perpetrators background does make a difference.

It's not an excuse, but it is an explanation.

And that's why I support the fact Nationals basing its law and order policy on two pillars - punishment and rehabilitation. Ruth Money herself said the same and she's the victim's advocate.

It's important that prisoners on remand can access rehabilitation, as currently nearly 1/4 of them spend their entire sentence on remand, during which time they're unable to access even the most basic of services.

There's absolutely no doubt that Labour has reduced the numbers of people in prison. The prison population has fallen by 20%. And they're saying it's going to be really expensive to put more people back in prison. But the cost of crime on society is expensive. I mean, just look at the numbers of security guards having to be employed by just about every retail store.

And criminals have to be punished, otherwise we lose faith in the justice system, and we lose faith in our authorities, and we lose faith in each other. If you do wrong, you have to be seen to be being punished. But at the same time, criminals must be rehabilitated as best they can be. Otherwise, it's just an expensive money-go-round and a complete and utter waste of human potential.

Kerre McIvor, is a journalist, radio presenter, author and columnist. Currently hosts the Kerre Woodham mornings show on Newstalk ZB


Gaynor said...

What we do need as well is prevention.

My personal campaign is specifically highlighting NZ's horrible literacy levels.
The strong link between crime and literacy is indisputable. Several youth magistrates have mention it recently on MSM.

Bad behaviour in preschoolers can prevent learning to read but what is certain failing to learn to read can lead to delinquent and criminal behaviour as well as poor mental health.

Social justice in pre- 1950s NZ was wisely centered on universal literacy. Then along came progressive education which devalued this ideal. A casual observation of current misguided progressive ideology reveals it promotes or blames everything else except getting every kid reading.

Whole language aka balanced literacy is the product of progressive education and as long as we have the presence of three cueing and whole language texts in our infant classes we will have plummeting standards in literacy and a large prison population.

Anonymous said...

we do need both, but we need punishment for the perp and rehabilitation for the victim, preferably in that order (as the former is a big contributor to the latter).