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A fresh approach to imprisonment in New Zealand

In 2011, Bill English, the then Finance Minister of New Zealand, stated that building more prisons does not reduce recidivism or rehabilitate prisoners and is extremely costly.  He recognised the ‘moral and fiscal failure’[1] of the prison system that saw prisoner numbers reach 10,000 in 2018 in a country whose population is a mere 4.8 million. His comments sparked a national conversation about incarceration and have been echoed by Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern[2]. A bipartisan approach to this issues was adopted, which led to a decision in 2018 not to build a 2000 bed mega US style prison[3] and instead to commit to reducing the number of prisoners by 30 per cent over the next 15 years[4].
 
 
 
[1] Otago Daily Times Prisons: ‘moral and fiscal failure’? 24.05.11

[2] NZHerald, Prisons a ‘moral and fiscal failure’ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, 20.08.18

[3] Beehive, New Zealand Government, No American-style mega prison, Government delivers new thinking, 13.06.18

[4] Newsroom, New prison strategy, new population reduction target, 20.08.19 




 
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