As someone on the sideline of politics, I am enjoying the robust conversation and debate we are currently seeing around law and order, gangs, youth crime and justice in general.
I am the first person to admit that what we have been seeing in our communities over recent years is terrible, sad, and disturbing, especially given what seems to be an escalating out of control justice and crime problem.
National have introduced new policies on youth crime and gangs and have even talked about rehabilitation issues which is great, but the question remains will, or even can, their policies work. This leads me to asking the question, as to why we are not implementing or discussing good reasoned effective proven policy that we know works and has been proven over time.
We need to understand what is driving these crimes and by understanding the driver of crime then can start addressing this politically, where currently we have no understanding, and the solution is and has always been to incarcerate our people.
In recent blogs, I have mentioned the Norwegian corrections system as a leader worldwide, and when we look carefully at it, not only is it hugely successful, cost effective and productive, it is being trialed and used in many countries that are commonly known as punitive.
The Norwegian corrections rehabilitation system is strongly supported and promoted by our own ex-prime minister, Helen Clark, worthy of recognition even in the United States of America, one of the most incarcerated populations in the world.
Thirty years ago, Sweden introduced policy that was researched and understood, but more importantly worked, bringing their current reoffending rate to less than 20% from the 60-70% it was previously. Not only has this been a success for the people in their prisons but also an economic success for their country.
I welcome comments and I hope this blog opens discussion around policy announcements by all political parties, as it is my belief that we can implement any amount of policy we like but if it isn’t researched, understood, and proven to have worked, it too will become another failure and another burden on the taxpayer in more ways than one.
Jackie Foster, CEO, Social Justice Aotearoa