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Thread: Plan to 'open' prisons

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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    Does this sound a bit worrying?
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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    I think it is a very sensible suggestion. It costs small fortune to keep prisoners in prison, if they are forced to work and support themselves.

    The important thing to note is that these are those who are deemed low risk of offending and no danger to society

    I don't think the prison system works as all it does is educate a criminal in how to be a better criminal. Punish him so he is not in 24-7 contact with the dregs of society then he is much more likely to be rehabilitated.
    Also prison sentences put strains on family relationships and can result in marriage breakdowns, resulting in children then having to be supported by the state - yet another drain on the economy.

    However the work done in the community should not be an easy option, it should be hard work and something giving something back to the comunity and if applicable something designed to try and show them the consequence of their crimes.

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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    It would take the burden off the government (or should I say ?taxpayer?) if prisoners were able to work to support themselves (although it doesn?t make clear whether they?d get pocket money to buy snacks and ciggies or a wage sufficient to buy their own meals etc.). Having had the work ethic instilled in them, for some it could mean ending their sentences in a better frame of mind, with skills they?ve learnt and can put to some use outside. However, I wouldn?t like to say just how many would end up having benefited from the open prison experience. It?s no good them going back to their normal lives thinking ?That wasn?t so bad, I wouldn?t mind a bit more of that?. There will always be the scallywags that will not be, and don?t particularly want to be, reformed. This is where the deterrent part comes in and where someone would need to crack the whip, ensuring the work was punitive enough to linger unfavourably in their memory banks.

    I wonder if they would be supervised whilst out working in the community. Without supervision, some ?normally decent, but easily mislead? types could try to make a go of it and learn something of future benefit to them, but what of the scallywags that will take advantage of the situation and muck about, wasting time? I?d hope this would be taken into account and they would at least be closely monitored whilst they?re outside.
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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    I dont think they are planning on letting just any prisoner work in the community, I would think that it would be first time offenders only.
    Whatever work they were doing, it should also be a deterrant ie they should have to work normal hours, but say perhaps at least half of what they earn is taken off them to recoup the cost of their prosecution in the first place or paid as compensation to their victim or family

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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    I like the idea of the convict workers reimbursing the prosecutor's office or the victim. I'm not so keen on the idea of unsupervised off-site work and home-stays. Are NZ convicts currently allowed to work at all - in or outside of prison walls? It does help with keeping them active, and the opportunity to earn even a modest wage is incentive to behave. The state and county here often use "con crews" for clearing brush at the side of the roads and for wildfire fighting, among other things. The workers are minimum-security prisoners who have been behaving themselves. They work hard (but no rock-breaking), earn some money, and get out a bit. Sure, occasionally one walks away, but they are usually caught, and wind up serving the rest of their full sentence in the pokey.
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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    [b:ab076e2acf]National warns over open prison proposals [/b:ab076e2acf]
    20.02.06

    Low level sex offenders, thieves and drink drivers could be released into the "open prisons" being considered by the Government, National says. Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor recently returned from Britain, the Netherlands and Finland, where he studied open prison systems which allow inmates to go home for one weekend a month and be paid for work carried out during sentences. Mr O'Connor has said the Government will investigate if such a system could run in New Zealand and suggested it could cater for up to a third of prisoners (those sentenced to less than six months) reduce reoffending and ease pressure on the bulging prison population.

    But National law and order spokesman Simon Power yesterday accused Mr O'Connor of failing to tell the public exactly what sort of prisoners would enter the open system. He cited examples from newspaper court pages of offenders serving sentences of less than six months. They included:

    * A taxi driver found guilty of indecent assault.

    * A woman who stole more than $11,000 while caring for a sick woman.

    * A man convicted of 72 fraud charges.

    * A man convicted of assault and his sixth drink-drive charge.

    * A man convicted on six charges of theft, assaulting police and cannabis possession.

    "They are physical threats or a threat to the public's sense of safety and all deserve some sort of punitive sentence," Mr Power said. But Mr O'Connor said National was distorting the truth.

    "People considered in any way dangerous to the community would not fit into this category?. He said there was no concrete proposal at this stage and he wanted to encourage debate. Mr Power has said the open prison proposal is a knee-jerk reaction to prison overcrowding and is at odds with the thrust of previous Corrections and Justice Ministers Paul Swain and Phil Goff who promoted a "tough on crime" approach. But Mr O'Connor has said he is not proposing any change to sentences for serious offenders, who would continue to receive long sentences.

    New Zealand First MP Ron Mark has called for the Government to sort out its existing prison rehabilitation schemes, before moving to any new prison regime. Last week he highlighted Corrections Department data that showed that offenders attending some of its flagship programmes were more likely to reoffend than those who did not.
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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    I was thinking on this subject the other day... I think there are cases where these plans could be appropriate. For example, we have friends who have a developmentally disabled adult daughter. She's operating on perhaps a ten year-old mentality. She had been working for a woman who apparently wasn't very nice to her. So she retaliated by stealing some of the woman's checks, forged and cashed them for small amounts. The judge took her condition into consideration, made sure she understood that such behavior was not acceptable, and sentenced her to several weekends in jail. She also has to repay the woman. This way she can continue at her current job, but also has enough punishment to drive the lesson home. Nothing other than vengeance would have been served by sending her up the idiomatic river.

    But hopefully cases like the ones Mr. Powers cited would not be included.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    [color=blue:9b6e3585cd]Looks like they've made a start.[/color:9b6e3585cd]

    [color=darkred:9b6e3585cd][b:9b6e3585cd]Jail lets sex crims out to pick fruit[/b:9b6e3585cd][/color:9b6e3585cd]
    28 February 2006
    By CHALPAT SONTI

    Sex offenders are being let out of prison to work at Hawke's Bay orchards. The 20 Hawke's Bay Prison inmates ? accompanied by two guards ? were sent to pick apples at two orchards during the weekend as part of an inmate employment scheme. It is understood prison bosses plan to extend the controversial scheme. The owner of one of the orchards is believed to have requested 50 inmates ? and the prison is trying to recruit more guards to supervise them in order to meet demand.

    A source said the segregated inmates were mainly sex offenders and were chosen because "they aren't going to cause any problems". "They're in protection and don't want to be seen doing anything wrong because they'll come off segregation. They've been hand-picked to do everything they are told." Inmates are held in segregation to protect them from other prisoners, most commonly because of disgust at their offences, including sex acts against children.

    Sensible Sentencing Trust national spokesman Garth McVicar said the public would be horrified to learn of the secret work gang. "And that's presumably why they're keeping it quiet. Sex offenders are notoriously very manipulative, cunning and dangerous. The research says they're also usually recidivist offenders. They have to be deemed to be an ongoing risk to the public. That's why the public will be appalled at this sort of stuff being done on the quiet."

    The scheme has also been criticised by the prison officers' union, the Corrections Association. President Beven Hanlon ? a guard at Hawke's Bay Prison ? said it pulled guards off the ordinary roster at an already short-staffed jail. Management planned to recruit four more guards soon to let 50 inmates work.

    One source said the sex offenders were being paid $30 a week to work 40 hours ? almost twice as much as inmates normally earn on work schemes ? after managers received special permission from Corrections national office. They were paid more than the usual inmate rate as hush money because "(Corrections) wanted to hide things".

    Corrections Department inmate employment manager Brent Maughan said the scheme was an opportunity to help orchardists, who were "facing difficulties" recruiting staff. He maintained there was "no risk" to public safety. The prisoners were being paid an "incentive allowance" of between 20 and 60 cents an hour, and the department was paid "contract rates" for the labour.

    Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association executive officer Dianne Vesty said she was unaware of the scheme but it was possibly a solution for orchardists struggling to find workers. But it was unlikely others would be attracted to work in orchards if they knew they would be near criminals.
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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    Now [u:0aee3b3ebf]that[/u:0aee3b3ebf] doesn't seem right to me. Sex offenders are a far cry from the sort I'd think were appropriate for "off campus" work.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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    Default Plan to 'open' prisons

    [color=blue:4949d5ad80][b:4949d5ad80]Prisoners taken on beach trip [/b:4949d5ad80][/color:4949d5ad80]
    16.03.06 9.35am

    Prison guards took inmates on an outing to a beach in Hawke's Bay last year, it has emerged. National MP Simon Power confirmed the beach visit through written parliamentary questions to Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor.

    Mr O'Connor replied: "On 20 December 2005 a small group of minimum security prisoners went to a beach under the supervision of two staff. This was an unauthorised location and therefore a breach of policy. The department undertook an investigation into this and appropriate disciplinary action has been taken."

    Mr Power said: "What were they doing on a public beach? Playing beach volleyball, having a picnic, body surfing, gathering shells, or were they part of some rehabilitation course?"

    He said the inmates were from Mangaroa Prison.
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