Building new prisons is not the answer - Report

Drive 29/03/2018
Image: Getty

New Zealand's justice system is broken and building new prisons is not the answer.

The report, Using evidence to build a better justice system: The challenge of rising prisons costs, basically says we’ve ignored the data, focused on the panic and gone with dogma instead.

Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, joined Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen on Drive.

The report suggests an evidence-based approach would help reduce both inmates and crime in the country.

The release coincides with the Government’s promise to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent within the next 15 years.

 “It was a bit of work that was started under the previous Prime Minister, and now it’s continued with the support of the present Prime Minister.”

Sir Gluckman said that New Zealanders aren’t good at having conversations about difficult matters.

There’s no need to get immediately into trying to show we’re tough on crime.

“If [New Zealanders] aren’t presented with anything other than a diet of extreme stories against the reality of what’s out there, then the conversation won’t change.”

Earlier Wendyl Nissen spoke to the report’s lead author Dr Ian Lambie who said that proactively tackling crime would lead to better outcomes.

“I think we need to shift the funding and the emphasis far more on early intervention,” Dr Lambie said.

Dr Lambie’s report suggests targeting high-risk youth who have experienced trauma or neglect. By getting those children into cost-effective intervention programmes, the children and their families have been proven to end up in a far better situation than before.

Listen to the full interview with Sir Peter Gluckman above.

Drive with Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.