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May 21, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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The Party Line

Should New Zealand abolish prisons?

Once the Ardern-Peters government has legislated away crime, alongside poverty and the housing crisis, we look forward to enthusiastically supporting the abolition of prisons too. Such will be a further step towards the socialist paradise we all deserve, and can obviously so easily achieve. – Grahame Woods


Prisons work best when they rehabilitate offenders and provide a culture where the offenders learn how to become better functioning members of society, rather than  reinforce the behaviours they already exhibit. Prisons in NZ, for the large part, do the latter. The institutions that are prisons should not be abolished, but the ideologies and techniques they present and use should be.

Greens at Vic


Yes. Prisons are inhumane, and so are the common assumptions about crime and society that are used to justify them. The evidence contradicts what we think prisons are for. Department of Corrections admits of a 44% re-incarceration rate, three years after release. Rather than addressing social harm, prisons perpetuate them. Solitary confinement exemplifies the inhumanity of prisons. 12,000 prisoners per year are held in a cell and denied human interaction for 22-24 hours a day. Almost every year, a person takes their own life in solitary. Prison abolition is about addressing social harms: how they’re caused, and how we heal them. The individualistic criminal justice system presumes we need to punish. Actually, we should take collective responsibility for how capitalism and colonisation destroys lives and communities. Prison abolition prioritises tikanga Māori and the rights of poor and working class people. Although reforms like banning solitary confinement are necessary for prison abolition, they are insufficient. Other measures, such as restoring welfare, and paying living wage are part of the story. Prison abolition as an ultimate end goal will keep us in check as we make the necessary changes to reach it.
– Jack Liang and Hugo Robinson

Act On Campus
No we shouldn’t. However we need to look at smarter ways of rehabilitation for prisoners. Act has a policy around literacy for prisoners, by becoming more educated prisoners can earn some time off their sentence. This incentivises learning, improves the lives of prisoners by giving them valuable life skills and reduces the cost that the state has to cover in housing prisoners.

– James Allan

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