Tag Archive: prisons

A return to human rights

On Saturday, the government announced that they will be giving the right to vote to some prisoners, reversing the 2010 ban.

This is an excellent move. The Supreme Court ruled that ban violated NZ’s bill of rights, and the Waitangi Tribunal also has stated that the ban breaches the Treaty Of Waitangi.

Not to mention that the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to take part in free and fair elections.

Voting is also something that’s done outside of prison, so it can hence be part of rehabilitation to normal society – albeit a very small part.

Sadly, however, the ban is not lifted on all prisoners – just those that have committed offences resulting in a sentence less than three years. So this doesn’t go far enough. The next step needs to be giving all prisoners the right to vote.

However, it is a start. Good on the government.

Mega prison ruled out

After some deliberating, the government has ruled out expanding Waikeria prison into National’s proposed “mega prison” which would have around 2500 beds, corrections minister Kelvin Davis has confirmed. 

However, that is all they have ruled out for the moment.

So, while there won’t be 2500 beds in the prison, the question of whether the prison will be expanded at all remains.

New Zealand’s prison population is currently at an all time high – around 10 thousand, and the current prisons are beginning to get crowded as the prison population continues to grow.

Without the expanded prison, as New Zealand’s prison population grows, questions will continue to float around about where the prisoners will stay.

Labour is keen on reducing the prison population by 30% within the next 15 years, but for the moment, the continuation of National’s policies here for the moment will see the prison population continue to grow.

So, whether it’s expanding prisons to fit the burgeoning population, or the reduction of the prison population as a whole, a fix will be needed soon.


Davis stuck between a rock and a hard place

Corrections minster Kelvin Davis is being asked to sign off on a new, 1 billion dollar prison to accommodate our growing prison population

Unfortunately for him, the Labour government has committed to slashing prisons numbers by 30% within the next 15 years.

This puts Davis in a difficult position.

Allowing the plan to build the prison will be a sure sign of defeat at Labour’s first hurdle – and they’ll get criticized for it.

Don’t allow the prison to be built, and he’ll face criticism for allowing prisons to get overpopulated. Davis will then face ire from within the prisons – the people Davis is supposed to represent, and the people who he needs on his side.

Choose on option, and Davis will crop criticism. Choose the other option, and Davis will still crop criticism.

Not a fun situation.