Dame Sian Elias - "More to crime than punishment"

"[R]esearch demonstrates that rehabilitation is not promoted by prison sentences and that community sentences are more effective in reducing crime."

"Long prison sentences are counterproductive for the eventual security of the public, measured by recidivism rates"

"[The] purposes of sentencing.... include denunciation, deterrence, rehabilitation and reintegration.... [and should] also emphasise accountability to and reparation for the victim and the community. "

-Dame Sian Elias, Chief Justice, Head of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.


Dame Sian Elias sounds like someone with a good brain. Pity we don't have one like her here in France. Ever since our right wing gov took over (Raffarin and his clique), the motto has been "zero tolerance" and we now have some 10,000 more prisoners than prison "spots". I leave it to anyone's fertile imagination to how the *surplus* of prisoners is *packed* in.

I wonder when Amnesty International will jump on this one. They should. It's a human rights disgrace.

The only bright spot is a juvenile delinquent scheme which does seem to corroborate what Dame Elias says. Instead of dumbly putting the kids in jail, there are a couple of experimental centers (which have been running for years, and are only now attracting attention on the national news because it's *review* time).

Strangely enough, while the *apparent* running costs are huge compared to a prison (specialized staff as well as infrastructure to offer training in all kinds of professions), the overal budget is positive.

How come?

Because the success rate is around 80%, meaning that around 80% of those teenagers spend an average of 2 years in there and return to normal live in the society. Oh, by the way, these kids ain't small time car thieves, they were given this choice versus 10 to 25 year jail sentences. The failure rate (meaning those that ended up committing crimes again) is only a few small percents.

So, the overal cost of those 2 years per person is actually less than keeping them lodged and fed for 10 years (let alone 25 or even life) in a *normal* prison.

Only downer in this scheme is that it's just a couple of experimental centers, and only is only offered to an abysmally small number of prisoners. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/10/2005 01:51:00 am  



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