Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The Very Worst

116 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

  • Russell Brown, in reply to whataboutandrew,

    Where does one find this “long paper trail”? I’m not too sure I’ve seen it despite reading the court judgments and decisions from the Parole Board.

    There are reports referred to as far back as 2007 in the April 2011 Parole Board decision:

    Ms (withheld)’s report says that during her interview with Mr Wilson, he was evasive, argumentative, litigious, solicitous, ingratiating, threatening and intimidating. In addition, he is said to have told Ms (withheld) that he had agreed to meet her to demonstrate his co-operation to the Parole Board. In Ms (withheld)’s view however, Mr Wilson presented himself to her as unwilling to discuss a safety plan directly, despite having requested the opportunity to do so.

    We are further advised by Ms (withheld) that Mr Wilson declined to sign a consent form for treatment and was thus precluded from treatment. She said that if he were to consent he would be seen as a treatment priority by the Psychological Service.

    Ms (withheld)’s report goes on to say that Mr Wilson was uncooperative in regard to his release plans and, given the dearth of information he was prepared to provide, she did not consider the plans for the management of risk either by the Department of Corrections or by Mr Wilson himself.

    On the issue of the potential to reoffend, Ms (withheld)’s report said that there had been no evidence of overall change in scores or risk-ratings. She said her purported risk assessments were current, reliable and valid. Overall, her current assessment was consistent with previous reports which indicated that Mr Wilson remains at high risk of committing further sexual offences.

    In her report and on her further evidence given to us today, Ms (withheld) noted that the ACUTE 2007 Risk Assessment Test could not be formally administered due to Mr Wilson’s incarceration but she did note that even in the stable and structured prison environment Mr Wilson demonstrated a number of factors which indicated the presence of acute risk should he be released. Specifically she said that within the last six months, Mr Wilson has made threats during the interview with her, demonstrated defiance towards those who offered him reintegration assistance as well as the demonstrated evidence of sexual behaviour which is, in Ms (withheld)’s view, inappropriate and possibly intentionally abusive.

    I’m presuming these would be available, at least to a legal representative. Am I wrong?

    At any rate, my point was that Peter Williams' belief that he would somehow fare better than professional psychologists seems misguided.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From a reader who doesn't wish to be identified:

    I used to work at Corrections and I was in frequent communication with Mr Brooking.

    Mr Brooking is spot on with his comments re short-term offenders, though in Judith Collins' defence, she did make some moves to combat this - and new CEO Ray Smith made all the right noises about rehabilitation rather than retribution being the name of the game.

    The policy setters at Corrections are some of the most liberal, left-wing people you could find and off-record they would all tell you that all the research shows that these tougher sentences don't work, however they were told/forced to find research to back the Minister's perspective that criminals must be taught a lengthy, sharp lesson.

    I've also had word that originally, John Banks was going to be Minister of Corrections but the powers-that-be at ACT baulked (I'm hesitant to use the plural there for "powers"). Banks had wanted the portfolio as he has an interest in the prison system (his father spent a long time in prison) and he viewed it as an opportunity to show people he wasn't just a crazy right-wing nut-job.

    Kim Workman is an interesting guy and an embarrassment to the Government. He works for the Howard League (I think he's winding down now) but he was also a senior bigwig at the Dept of Corrections (head of Prison Services if memory serves me right). He and Bevan Hanlon were the thorns in Ms Collins' side while I was there.

    Parts of the above are pretty damning, if not exactly out of kilter with the present government's style.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Richard Aston,

    But isn't the down side of this is it effectively needs a police state or at least a well policed up state

    Resources would go into police and community services rather than prisons, yes

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    they were told/forced to find research to back the Minister's perspective

    I have watched a colleague spend weeks revising a research report because it wasn't what the minister would want to see. I am increasingly worried about this, as in my sphere of operations we haven't seen anything like this before.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I should also point out that it is far easier to get the evidence you want from external consultants.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    I have watched a colleague spend weeks revising a research report because it wasn’t what the minister would want to see. I am increasingly worried about this, as in my sphere of operations we haven’t seen anything like this before.

    Ugh. That is worrying.

    Not least because ignoring evidence leads to billion-dollar boondoggles like the government's road-building programme.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Kim Workman is currently part of the team at the Institute of Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. His profile makes interesting reading, and the rest of the team are pretty stellar too.

    Kim's Rethinking Crime And Punishment newsletter is worth subscribing to.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    since the 1990s

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    ignoring evidence leads to billion-dollar boondoggles like the government's road-building programme

    I'm sure electoral donations by the truckies' Road Transport Forum had no influence on that. None at all.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I have watched a colleague spend weeks revising a research report because it wasn’t what the minister would want to see. I am increasingly worried about this, as in my sphere of operations we haven’t seen anything like this before.

    Ugh. That is worrying.

    Not least because ignoring evidence leads to billion-dollar boondoggles like the government's road-building programme.

    To be fair that's not just true for National governments. Any time the facts disagree with published policy, this happens. That said, this bunch seem to be quite egregious about it ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1769 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I wonder if anyone has sat down with McVicar et al. and actually gone through the numbers that show that increasing the imprisonment rate doesn’t have much effect on the crime rate.

    Not that I expect that it would change his mind (however be nice that would be).

    In 2006 then-minister Damien O'Connor took Garth and Kim Workman on a world tour:

    Mr McVicar said their first surprise came when they arrived at the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College, London.

    "They use New Zealand as an example of what not to do - how our prison population is escalating and our level of violent crime is increasing," he said.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • poffa,

    I feel the intent of the corrections dept is displayed by the administrative hierarchy of prisons. We need the workers directing rehabilitation, in management rather than the guards as at present.
    Private prisons are pure Milo Minderbinder, we all get a share.

    auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Richard Aston,

    I wonder if it might be better to simply flog criminals publicly until the sight of blood satisfies the baying crowd.. ah yes vengeance is done and it is sweet.

    There seems to be no shortage of criticism based around a premise that prisoners are treated to proper meals and "flat screen TVs" whilst victims are often left out in the cold to suffer with whatever fate left them, hence the call for more effective vengeance because there's not much else up for grabs. There's a strong perception that victims are ignored, or mostly ignored, and maybe there's some merit given I see that New Zealand's Victim Support organisation is pleading for donations. The Department of Corrections never does that.

    Fortunately for me I've never been a victim in this sense. People I know who've been affected by serious crime are sometimes more or less ignored (or don't know where to get help), or if they get serious long term help it's often because they're fortunate enough to have family and friends who care and who sacrifice their time and money. Many consequences of crimes can never be reversed, but it does cause me to wonder why the funding targeted at corrections (locking up and rehabilitating people) doesn't seem to be more fundamentally targeted at resolving the whole issue that a crime creates as much as possible, on both sides. eg, A more complete ACC-like structure might not go amiss, to help victims cope with consequences at the same time that the corrections system works with perpetrators. Am I missing something about what's already available for victims?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 291 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    They're also deliberattely dismantling policy functions that might disagree with them. Intellectual and moral weaklings.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lyndon Hood,

    Not that I expect that it would change his mind

    and it didn't. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to izogi,

    There seems to be no shortage of criticism based around a premise that prisoners are treated to proper meals and “flat screen TVs” whilst victims are often left out in the cold to suffer with whatever fate left them, hence the call for more effective vengeance because there’s not much else up for grabs. There’s a strong perception that victims are ignored, or mostly ignored, and maybe there’s some merit given I see that New Zealand’s Victim Support organisation is pleading for donations. The Department of Corrections never does that.

    Actually, the 2004-2005 International Crime Victims Survey (published in 2008) ranked New Zealand’s victim survey, but there was plentiful coverage of our relatively high (but still falling) rate of common crimes.. I wrote about it at the time, noting some of the problems with the survey.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    There seems to be no shortage of criticism based around a premise that prisoners are treated to proper meals and “flat screen TVs” whilst victims are often left out in the cold to suffer with whatever fate left them

    Please adjust bullshit filters for anecdata, but I know someone who changed his tune on the idea that our prisons are Club (Over-)Fed resorts after eighteen months regularly visiting his son while detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Richard Aston,

    But isn’t the down side of this is it effectively needs a police state or at least a well policed up state.

    Not entirely. I think this research was part of the reason NYC tried the broken windows policy where even minor offenses were charged. the idea being that if you established that breaking even minor laws would result in prosecution would create a culture of not breaking laws.

    It was by no means a perfect policy in planning nor execution, but NYC crime rates actually dropped.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Ben, I think it’s purely and simply that vengeance is an element in any penal code. There has to be some element of revenge in order that people are satisfied enough that they don’t try to get revenge themselves.

    Sure – you don’t deprive people of their freedom and reputation purely for the shits and giggles. In theory, it is retributive as well as a deterrent to any further wrong-doing, but feeding the prison-industrial complex isn’t the only way to have that effect. I know shaming and social stigma are unfashionable terms, but I suspect there are more than a few young five-finger discounters who’d testify that it works. :)

    ETA: More seriously, did I want brutal, bloody and terminal vengeance on the mongrel drink-driver who was responsible for the death of my foster sister? Bet your arse. Would I be chuffed if he was still rotting in a dungeon that makes Abu Ghraib look like a penthouse suite at The Ritz? Not proud to say it, but hell yes.

    A society of laws is supposed to act as a curb on the worse, most atavistic instincts of people like me. At least, please God, let it ever be so.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Parts of the above are pretty damning, if not exactly out of kilter with the present government’s style.

    What's wrong with the traditional strategy of ignoring unwanted advice; sacking the bearer of inconvenient evidence and when all else fails publicly assassinating the poor boob's character? Seems to be ample precedent, foreign and domestic, for anyone who has the gall to be "soft on drugs" (i.e. even whispers that the status quo doesn't work, and disproportionately targets the poor and minorities while eroding civil rights to no good end.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    trendy, lefty suburban Nagio, where the daily homily on the cafe blackboard asked: "Why not two to a cell?

    Feel free to check out some other pearls of Cafe Villa's village wisdom.

    Wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    People I know who've been affected by serious crime are sometimes more or less ignored

    Yup, I've no idea when or how we'll get back the $250 than Allan Hubbard and his mates stole from me and every other NZ taxpayer.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to David Ritchie,

    They should acquire the services of a humourist.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1769 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to David Ritchie,

    trendy, lefty suburban Nagio

    I've never been to Nagio, though it sounds quite quaint. Ngaio, on the other hand, is pretty much middle-of-the-road politically (at least according to voting booth figures) and far from any definition of "trendy".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Tom Beard,

    trendy, lefty suburban Nagio

    I’ve never been to Nagio, though it sounds quite quaint. Ngaio, on the other hand, is pretty much middle-of-the-road politically (at least according to voting booth figures) and far from any definition of “trendy”.

    Oh, and there I was thinking it was now trendy and lefty for suburban households to remotely manage their IT infrastructure.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.