Poetry Slam from JustSpeak forum 'Prison: A Moral & Fiscal Failure?'

Check out Te Kahu Rolleston and Mary Rainsford performing their poetry at JustSpeak's forum 'Prison: A Moral & Fiscal Failure?' on 30 November 2016.  Continue reading

Playing the youth justice limbo - what’s the hold up?

“Being put through the adult justice system at 17 was terrifying, having never been arrested before. The weight of my sentencing really only held me back in life, and ultimately the system failed to do anything to help me move forward with life changes to help prevent reoffending.” - Edward Up in the air. On hold. In limbo. Nine months after announcing that they will consider raising the age of youth justice, the Government is yet to make a decision. Continue reading

They’re our future, not our future prisoners

PILLARS have launched their 5th annual Children of Prisoners Week with their Breakfast without Bars event. This year they are doing things differently. Their week-long campaign aims to raise the voices of children who are affected by parental incarceration. This year we are listening to our children and their needs. We need to unlock these children out of their silence and give them a voice to release their potential. Continue reading

What to do when your country is addicted to prison

In Aotearoa New Zealand we have a prison addiction. We are sending our people – and in particular our Māori and Pacific Island people – behind bars in greater and greater numbers. In the words of our Minister of Finance, Bill English, prison is a moral and fiscal failure. But in the five years since Bill English made this statement his colleagues still haven’t got the message. Continue reading

Greening Justice

Are you passionate about criminal justice and environmental protection? Sure, but what does one have to do with the other? Actually plenty according to this new article on the interfaces of criminal, social and ecological justice. Continue reading

Returning Offenders: What does it all mean?

Recently the government rushed through legislation, mainly in response to the New Zealand citizens potentially facing deportation on Christmas Island. The reason for this law was to create ‘parole-like’ conditions for those who have served overseas prison sentences, and are then being deported to New Zealand. Because this law went through really fast, crucial thorough examination of possible consequences never happened. This is particularly unfortunate because the Act breaches fundamental rights, leads to double punishment, and arbitrary enforcement of harsher and longer punishment than if the conduct had been committed in New Zealand. Continue reading

Corrections Needs Trans Transparency

By Hannah Gabriel Trans woman Jade Follett is currently imprisoned in Rimutaka Mens Prison near Wellington. She requested to be transferred to the nearby Arohata Womens Prison over two months ago. Queer activist group No Pride in Prisons recently announced that they will be holding a hunger strike until Jade’s transfer request is accepted. Corrections responded by saying that they only received Jade’s application to transfer in the last couple of days. Continue reading

The Blame Game: How Pointing the Finger at Serco only Addresses the Symptoms, not the Cause

While it will be interesting to see what comes of the investigations of Serco’s management of Mt Eden Prison, the main issues leading to the investigation – organised fighting and prisoner possession of contraband in the form of cell phones, alcohol and other drugs – are issues in all New Zealand prisons. They are issues everywhere because all of our prisons are being run in a way which will cut costs in the short term, but lead to bad outcomes in the long term. Continue reading

Waitangi Day: Justice and heavy injustice

On Waitangi Day this year some JustSpeak volunteers and I decided to travel up and attend the commemorations for the first time. In the ensuing two days, we learned about water rights, met some inspiring rangatahi leading a conversation around constitutional transformation, we attended a beautiful dawn service on the lower marae silhouetted against the pou, we stood by some young activists as they got scolded by Winston Peters and Andrew Little, we ate some amazing kai, discussed Māori access to Community Law, listened to Moana Jackson declare 2040 to be the year his hapū would regain the right to make decisions for themselves, we participated in a hīkoi against oil drilling and the further desecration of our future, and we settled in to watch kapahaka on the Treaty Grounds. Continue reading

Child Poverty and Injustice

“Safety and security don’t just happen; they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” – Nelson Mandela. Recently we attended the Edmund Rice “Advocacy in Aotearoa” Conference, where we had the chance to learn from some of New Zealand’s leading advocacy organisations (Edmund Rice Justice Trust Aotearoa NZ, Child Poverty Group, The NZ Refugee Council, Caritas Aotearoa NZ, JustSpeak, Generation Zero, Vinnies Youth Auckland and Amnesty International) and create valuable links with others that are committed to bringing about positive change. Following on from this enlightening event, I thought it interesting to examine the issue of child poverty in New Zealand, and its relationship to justice issues. Continue reading