No Parole for Second Strikers Will Increase Reoffending Rate

Press Release – Rethinking Crime and Punishment

“Corrections Minister Judith Collins claim that the public want to see second strikers locked up for their full term without parole, is more about satisfying moral panic than preserving public safety. All the research is clear; keeping people in …No Parole for Second Strikers Will Increase Reoffending Rate
“Corrections Minister Judith Collins claim that the public want to see second strikers locked up for their full term without parole, is more about satisfying moral panic than preserving public safety. All the research is clear; keeping people in prison longer, and then sending them out without supervision under parole, is almost guaranteed to increase the likelihood of re-offen ding.”

However, it does present Corrections with the opportunity to carry out some ground breaking research. If they compared the reoffending rate of second strikers who served their full sentence for say serious assault, with that of first strikers committing a similar offence but with parole, , they might find out whether releasing people without parole is a good idea.

“An offender who has been in prison for five years or more, is often institutionalised, and needs a great deal of support and formal accountability to desist from reoffending. A term of parole with the support of skilled community probation staff, is often the glue between release and successful reintegration. Sending someone out into the community without that support, reminds me of the Asian gentleman who promotes 30 seconds – it is a policy of “Pay and Walk Away”. “

“A second strike without parole is a really bad idea. In summary:

• There is no evidence anywhere that lengthening a sentence will deter offenders. Even the threat of a longer term of imprisonment doesn’t work.

• While on parole, offenders are influenced not to reoffend. Sending them out without supervision increases the likelihood that they will.

• Community probation officers are often the link to successful reintegration, and can point ex-prisoners to services which provide assistance with housing, employment and rehabilitative support. If there is no parole, there is no support . Without support, the offender can very quickly revert to a life of crime, often within weeks of release.

• Judicial intervention, either at the outset of the sentence, or by the Parole Board, can ensure that the offender’s rehabilitative and reintegrative needs are adequately met, and they are provided with the oversight and support needed to make a successful transition.

• The Department of Corrections publication “What Works Now” makes it clear that where intensive support from a Probation Office is combined with good reintegrative support from community agencies, it can reduce reoffending significantly . Under the three strikes regime, those interventions are no longer available.

“The outcome of all that, is that prisoners released without parole, are more likely to reoffend than those who are. That is inconsistent with the department’s goal of reducing reoffending. “

“The department’s Community Probation Service and its Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services are currently gearing themselves up to ward a more response approach to prisoner reintegration. They deserve the opportunity to work their magic on these serious offenders. To deny offenders that level of support, in order to curry favour with those members of the public that want people punished at any cost, is both counter-productive and illogical.”

ends

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