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Prisoners Need Therapy – Yeah Right!

Press Release – Sensible Sentencing Trust

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has slammed comments by a drug councillor that prisoners need therapy and says it would be a good Tui Bill Board promotion – but a disastrous Corrections policy.Prisoners Need Therapy – Yeah Right!

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has slammed comments by a drug councillor that prisoners need therapy and says it would be a good Tui Bill Board promotion – but a disastrous Corrections policy.

Drug councilor Roger Brooking, author of ‘Flying Blind’ was critical of National’s hard-line approach saying that Corrections needed to switch to therapy.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman, Garth McVicar said Brooking was totally out of touch with reality.

“Is Mr. Brooking so blind that he cannot see the huge increase in violent crime since New Zealand moved from punishment to therapy and rehabilitation?”

“Mr. Brooking is of an age that he will remember when a crime was a crime and offenders were punished for breaking the law – not given therapy. He will know that the move to rehabilitation rather than punishment is precisely the reason for the ballooning crime and prison rates.”

Mr. McVicar said that actions must have consequences. “The consequence of committing crime these-days is the offender will be given every consideration by the Courts, including discounts for an ‘early’ guilty plea and then be handed a community based sentence with absolutely no consequences if not abided by. The system has become a joke and the offenders know it!”

“The mamby-pamby therapy model that Mr. Brooking is promoting has been tried and failed. We need to accept that it is a failed social experiment and get back to some basic tried and proven values such as, accountability, boundaries, consequences and discipline.”

“The fact that two thirds of prisoners have drug and alcohol problems is not the fault of Corrections or prison; it is the fault of the individual who made a deliberate choice to take the drugs or alcohol.”

“The excuse driven ‘therapy’ model that Mr. Brooking is promoting knows no bounds and will simply line the pockets of those offering the ‘treatment’.”

“I imagine councilors such as Mr. Brooking will also disagree with Nationals policy of beneficiaries having to undergo drug tests or face their benefits being cut off.”

There are some who see welfare as a taxpayer funded gravy-train but in reality it has destroyed a lot of lives while creating a lucrative livelihood for the ‘therapists’.”

Mr. McVicar said most people will see Nationals ‘drugs-or-dole’ policy as sensible.


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1 comment:

  1. Roger Brooking, 3. December 2011, 8:14

    In November, the Sunday Star Times ran article about Flying Blind, Roger Brooking’s critically acclaimed expose of the New Zealand Justice system. The story was about the need for a greater investment in rehabilitation programmes and said “Drug and alcohol counsellor Roger Brooking suggested setting up drug courts, increasing rehabilitation programmes, and investing in halfway houses.”

    The story quoted Mr Brooking as saying: “About 90% of prisoners have drug or alcohol problems, but just 5% get the treatment they need. The justice system has become a vicious cycle and it recycles all these alcohol and drug-related offenders and keeps them locked into the justice system.”

    Garth McVicar took exception to this. He issued a press release in which he says rehabilitation and therapy would be “a disastrous Corrections policy.” He went to say “The fact that two thirds of prisoners have drug and alcohol problems is not the fault of Corrections or prison.”

    McVicar seems to be saying that if even if alcohol or drugs have contributed to an offender’s crimes, he should not receive any help from the Corrections Department for this. Presumably Mr McVicar thinks that if mental health problems have contributed, offenders should not receive help for that either. If illiteracy and unemployment has been a factor, Corrections still should not help. If poor parenting and a lack of family support has been a factor, well, who cares?

    Mr McVicar seems to have lost all capacity for reason – let alone humanity. He doesn’t seem to realise that 98% of prisoners will eventually be released – 80% of them within six months. Not only are 90% of them dependent on alcohol and drugs, a similar percentage also struggle with reading and writing. About 60% have mental health and personality problems. If they’re not offered help with these issues, they generally relapse to drinking and drugs as soon as they get out of prison; that leads to reoffending and then back to prison.

    Flying Blind describes the prevalence of such problems faced by so many of those who end up in prison and the lack of commitment shown by the Corrections Department to do anything about it. The book provides case histories of prisoners with overwhelming personal problems who were not able to get into rehabilitation programmes in prison and the almost total lack of support they received on release. Mr Brooking’s conclusion is that as a result of these systemic failures, most prisoners relapse and reoffend within 12 months.

    What Mr McVicar seems to have forgotten is that when criminals reoffend, they create more and more victims. If McVicar really cared about victims, he would join forces with Roger Brooking and advocate for more therapy and rehabilitation in prison and more support for prisoners in the community. The fact that he doesn’t highlights the flaws in his thinking, the short-sightedness of his strategy and the paucity of his compassion.

    The reality is that Sensible Sentencing Trust policies do not support victims – they actually create more of them. Perhaps Mr McVicar should rename his Trust – because there’s really nothing sensible about it.