Instead of competing in some sort of bizarre race to the bottom with the United States for the most number of people incarcerated per head of population, we need to attend to what works to prevent crime.
While the idea of scaring young people out of crime (boot camps, prison visits etc) might have popular appeal, it is a total failure as it has been found to increase the probability of crime. What does work is reducing the stress on low income families and providing them with sufficient material resources to ensure their kids have opportunities to thrive.
Increasing the incomes of low-income low opportunity parents using unconditional cash assistance reduces children’s likelihood of engaging in criminal activity. Yes giving parents more money, and trusting them to identify where the pressure points in their family life are, improves both the economic position of a family and reduces stress, the key pathway between poverty and poor outcomes for children.
A substantial body of research supports unconditional cash assistance in countries similar to New Zealand.
Jess Berentson-Shaw. Morgan Foundation
Jess Berentson-Shaw – The Morgan Foundation
It was nicely done really; Judith Collins neatly deflected the question posed by a delegate at a Police Association’s Conference about when the government was going to start addressing the causes of the crimes, notably child poverty. She repelled that pretty brave question by simply saying child poverty was not the Government’s problem to fix.
The following week the Government announced it will be spending $1 billion to provide 1800 additional prison beds. While that is a one off cost, it also costs $92,000 to house each prisoner per year, so the on-going cost will be over $150m. Labour also announced it would be funding 1000 more frontline police at a cost of $180m per year.
This is all ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff. No-one has attended to what that member of the Police force was saying; deal with low incomes and low opportunities in childhood and you don’t need to spend billions on new prisons, or constantly have to fund more frontline police.
It is unlikely that merely lacking money directly leads to a child committing crime. Rather, a child who grows up poor is more likely to be a low achiever in their education with more behavioural and or mental health issues, and it is these factors that influence their likelihood of running up against the criminal justice system.
While the absolute numbers of appearances for all ethnicities have gone down, both apprehensions and appearances in court show a serious overrepresentation of Māori young people. Low income is noted to be a key factor in the criminal offending of young people.
Of course we need to keep the public safe from dangerous offenders, but how many of our 9798 prison population really pose a risk to the community?
And how many are in prison because there is nowhere else for them to go? Prisons are for the bad, not the mad. And they also shouldn’t be used as ad hoc detox centres. If drug and alcohol addictions were treated as a health issue, not a criminal issue, surely the appalling rate of recidivism would reduce. NZ Herald
Studies and trials done overseas show clearly that crime rates are inextricably linked to poverty and inequality.
Iceland Just Did The Exact Opposite of What the U.S. Does — It Found 9 Bad Bankers Guilty in Historic Case.
Reykjavik, Iceland – On Thursday, Iceland’s Supreme Court found nine bankers guilty of market manipulation, affirming the conviction of the seven defendants found in a June 2015 decision by the Reykjavik District Court, and handing down a guilty verdict to two defendants previously acquitted in district court.
The Supreme Court decision found that fully financing share purchases with no other surety than the shares themselves, the bankers were accused of giving a false and misleading impression of demand for Kaupthing shares by means of deception and pretense,”
The Free Thought Project
Auckland food court ordered to pay $164,000 for employment breach.
The Food City Limited establishment, in Northcote, also has to pay a $37,500 penalty imposed by the Employment Relations Authority in a ruling last week. The breaches found included a failure to pay minimum wage and holiday pay to the group of Chinese cleaners, who were all permanent New Zealand residents.
“It’s really disappointing to see this level of non-compliance where the employer has just completely failed to meet the clear expectations set out in New Zealand’s employment law.
Pleading ignorance is no excuse – providing employees with at least the minimum wage, holiday pay, and written employment agreements are basic obligations which we expect every employer in New Zealand to meet. Taking advantage of employees is never acceptable, particularly vulnerable workers such as the migrants in this case, who were older, did not speak English, and were unaware of their rights and entitlements in New Zealand.” NZ Herald
“No more Lehmans”
former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. TruthOut