Source: (2010) Presentation at the Taranaki Restorative Justice Conference, New Plymouth on Wednesday, 24th March.

Eighteen months later, my critics are silent. Apart from the initial promise of the ‘Drivers of Crime’ initiative, most of the focus has been to introduce legislation which exercises even more control over offenders, and effectively restrict the role of the community in exercising informal social control and making effective interventions. We have seen legislation which has extended the supervision of offenders, restricted bail and parole, expanded the rights of the Police in exercising search and seizure. ACC support for victims of sexual offending is now limited to those who can prove that they are mentally ill. There have been a series of mean spirited policy changes, aimed at finding new ways to punish prisoners. Legal aid for prisoners appearing before the Parole Board is now severely limited, the government is supporting the removal of prisoner voting rights, new security rules have severely restricted prisoner eligibility for release to work, and the prison regime is operating under sub-standard conditions, with double bunking, and prisoners are locked in their cells for between 16 and 20 hours a day. In addition, the three strikes bill, which will become law at the end of this month, has the potential to increase some sentences by up to 11,000 percent . The prison population continues to rise, doubling over the last fifteen years. (excerpt)