Prisons attract lawbreaking families to city

He said Christchurch police were targeting the 10 worst families in the city with intensive monitoring and involving government agencies

As the poor & 'criminal' know, we are already living in a police state. With their (NZ pigs) long running campaign to vilify poor whanau (& this one) in particular. This provides the platform for them to ride roughshod of these and other whanau, purposely building (with the settler govt) a climate of fear within marginalized communities, and an excuse for applying over policing & excessive state force against communities already under siege, in some bald head report I read recently, there is a forecast, 25% increase in the prison population in Aotearoa in the next 4 years. State Oppression is big business alright.

Prisons attract lawbreaking families to city

Saturday November 4, 2006

Prisons on the outskirts of Christchurch are drawing families with criminal connections to the city and causing headaches for police.

They say there is a worrying trend of families with entrenched criminal behaviour and out-of-control children moving to Christchurch because of the men's, women's and youth prisons near Rolleston.

"A lot of people come to Christchurch from out of town," Inspector John Price told the Press. "They arrive, they don't have infrastructure and they're not accountable to other members of the family who might be a good influence."

The problem was typified by the gang-connected Kara family from Taranaki, he said.

The family moved to Christchurch after 14-year-old Renee Kara O'Brien was transferred to Christchurch Women's Prison to serve a life sentence for the murder of Waitara truck driver Ken Pigott.

Three years later, her younger brother, Ray Kara, 16, was involved with the unprovoked murder of Christchurch accountant Trevor Clague as he walked home.

"The Kara family is a classic case," Mr Price said. "At least up in Taranaki they had a support network. In Christchurch they don't."

He said Christchurch police were targeting the 10 worst families in the city with intensive monitoring and involving government agencies.

"We have very young children from the age of 10 who have learned behaviour about crime from their parents and older siblings. They have no clearly defined boundaries being set at home. Crime is seen as a viable option."

Nau te rakau, naku te rakau, ka mate te hoariri

"Patience is a virtue of a revolution."


Ana said...

Policeman arrested for hitting wife

Sunday November 5, 2006
By Stephen Cook

A long-serving Auckland police officer has been stood down after being arrested on charges of beating his wife.

The officer, with interim name suppression, was arrested on October 26 and charged with assault and injuring with intent to injure, following an altercation with his wife at their Auckland home. The charges carry a maximum seven-year prison term.

Police have also launched a professional standards inquiry into the incident and the officer's alleged conduct.

The officer's arrest is another blow for police trying to repair a tarnished public image.

Nearly two dozen police officers are facing serious criminal charges from rape and indecent assault to wounding with intent - and most are on full pay. Some charges carry prison sentences of up to 20 years.

Included among the cases are new charges against suspended Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards relating to alleged sexual offending in the 1980s. Rickards and former officers Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum were acquitted in March of raping Louise Nicholas but were charged shortly after with raping a second woman.

Rickards has remained on full pay since inquiries into the matters began two years ago.

Seven serving officers are currently on serious internal police charges for offences including disgraceful conduct, inappropriate use of a computer, falsifying a document and using unnecessary force.

The Office of the Commissioner is playing down the charges, saying they should be taken in the context of a 10,000-strong police force.

Auckland QC and Howard League for Penal Reform spokesman Peter Williams said the charges against the Auckland officer were likely to further dent public confidence in the police.

However, he said, it was a fact of life that police officers were people like everyone else and suffered the same pressures and human frailties.

"But if police officers don't follow the rules, there's less chance other members of society - especially our young - will keep to the rules either."


Ana said...

New Zealand deserves even more criticism, according to the report, for imprisoning a disproportionate number of the indigenous Maori minority. Maori make up 15% of the general population, but 50% of the prison population.

In the most up to date statistics, that figure (of Maori incarceration rate) has grown to 70% of the current prison population in NZ

If US Plays Global Prison Ratings Game
It Ought to Play by Its Own Rules

by Alan Elsner

Washington - The US State Department issued its annual review of human rights around the world last week - grading each nation on its performances in a number of categories. Only one country escaped scrutiny: the US itself.

While monitoring human rights and holding other countries accountable is a valid and valuable exercise, there is something disquieting about the US earnestly preaching to countries like Iceland and New Zealand while completely ignoring its own practices. One of the areas the report monitors is the functioning of prison systems. So we had the bizarre spectacle of a nation that incarcerates 2.2 million people - one-quarter of all the world's prisoners - casting a baleful eye over Iceland, which has a grand total of 110 people incarcerated (16 prison cells in Iceland have no toilets, the report noted with stern disapproval).

New Zealand deserves even more criticism, according to the report, for imprisoning a disproportionate number of the indigenous Maori minority. Maori make up 15% of the general population, but 50% of the prison population. Yet the US has the same problem right here at home: prison and jail populations are 40% black, while African-Americans account for just 12% of the total population. New Zealand also has a handful of inmate assaults each year. In California prisons, alone, there were 11,527 such assaults in 2001, and 13 resulted in fatalities. New Zealand had one prison suicide in 2003. The US doesn't even track such data. But a Louisville Courier Journal investigation in 2002, for example, found at least 17 suicides in Kentucky jails during the previous 30 months.

By standing in its own glass house while hurling rocks at others, the US runs the risk of being seen as self-righteous and hypocritical. Americans like to think of themselves as a moral example to the world when it comes to human rights, but clearly much of the world does not see the US that way at all. The US incarceration rate as a proportion of the population is 5 to 10 times as great as that of other democracies.

The State Department report did not address the problem of inmate rape or controversial policies involving solitary confinement in New Zealand and Iceland. Indeed, perhaps these are rare in either country - but these constitute two of America's most pressing corrections system controversies. (Most authorities believe that in American prisons 1,000s of men and women are raped each year, and President Bush signed a congressional act last year mandating that the Department of Justice begin studying the issue. The US also has at least 20,000 prisoners in isolation, according to a 2002 Human Rights Watch report, and most states and the federal prison system operate at least one high-tech, high-security prison where inmates are kept in continuous solitary confinement for months or years.)

Of course, the US prison system is far from the worst in the world, but it is the largest. Human rights groups estimate that up to 11,000 prisoners die annually in Russian prisons, mostly as a result of poor sanitation and lack of medical care. Abuse and rape also are said to be endemic. Conditions in Chinese prisons are also frequently harsh and degrading. Detainees are kept in overcrowded cells with poor sanitation and lack access to proper medical care and often even to adequate food.

However, to say that the US is better than Russia and China in such matters misses the point. As the introduction to the State Department report proclaims: "Promoting respect for universal human rights is a central dimension of US foreign policy. It is a commitment inspired by our country's founding values and our enduring strategic interests. As history has repeatedly shown, human rights abuses are everybody's concern. It is a delusion to believe that we can ignore depredations against our fellow human beings or insulate ourselves from the negative consequences of tyranny." These are fine and stirring words. But if the US wants others to take it seriously, Americans also need to take a long, hard look in the mirror, and then start fixing things at home. Only then will their words to the rest of the world carry conviction.

Alan Elsner is a national news correspondent for Reuters and author of the new book, Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America's Prisons

Ana said...


Official reports draw a link between Maori urbanisation and imprisonment. The dramatic rise in Maori imprisonment, beginning in the 1950s, coincided with an acceleration of Maori moving from rural to urban areas. Maori urbanisation has been described as the most rapid on record for any ethnic minority anywhere in the world.
(Gibson,1973, cited in Justice Statistics 1990, p.23.


A major factor fueling the growth in the prison population in the decades 1950-1990 has been the dramatic rise in the imprisonment of Maori. In the 1920s, 4% of the prison population were Maori, rising to 6% in 1930 and 15% by 1940. (Justice Statistics.) Between 1950-1990 there was a seven-fold increase in the number of Maori sent to prison - about
four times the comparable non-Maori increase.(Justice Statistics 1990, Dept.Statistics 1991,p.19.)

Although making up just 4% of the total population aged 15 years and over, in 1950 Maori accounted for 18% of sentenced prisoners. Over the period 1950 to the mid- 1970s the number of Maori offenders sent to prison grew at an average annual rate of 8.8%. By 1989 Maori were 49% of sentenced prisoners while making up 8% of the total population 15 years and over. (Justice Statistics 1990,p.19.)

In 1997, where ethnicity* was known, Maori accounted for 52% of all non-traffic cases resulting in imprisonment while making up 10% of the total male population over 15 years and 14.5% of the whole population. (Conviction & Sentencing of Offenders in New Zealand
1988-1997, P.Spier,1998, p.36.;The Use of Imprisonment in N.Z. Min. of Justice,1998,p.28; 1998 NZ Yr.Bk.)

During 1997 Maori entered prison at 8 times the rate of non-Maori. Sentenced Maori males were generally younger (61% under 30 years) than their European counterparts (44% under 30 years). (Census of Prison Inmates 1997; The Use of Imprisonment,1998.)

What factors help explain these outcomes for Maori?
Official reports draw a link between Maori urbanisation and imprisonment. The dramatic rise in Maori imprisonment, beginning in the 1950s, coincided with an acceleration of Maori moving from rural to urban areas. Maori urbanisation has been described as the most rapid on record for any ethnic minority anywhere in the world.
(Gibson,1973, cited in Justice Statistics 1990, p.23.)

In 1945, three quarters of the Maori population lived in rural areas. By the mid-1970s the reverse was true with three-quarters of Maori living in urban areas, increasing to four-fifths by 1981. (New Zealand Official Year Book, 1998, Statistics N.Z.p.102.)

Today's offending by Maori cannot be divorced from the spiritual and material poverty created by the ongoing consequences of colonisation. (The Maori and the Criminal Justice System, Jackson,M.,1988; & 'Ten Years On', Conference Report,1998.) Colonisation is 'in effect a form of subjugation, in which throughout the period of colonisation, the colonised
country has been deprived of true sovereignty.' (Dict. Of Political Thought, R.Scruton,1996,p.83.)

By 1996, Maori comprised 27.7% of all the unemployed. (New Zealand Now - Maori, Statistics N.Z.1998 Edition, p.68.) Maori unemployment is highest amongst younger Maori and at a rate three times that of Europeans. (N.Z.Year Book, 1998, p.312.)

Officially published research asserts that, once apprehended, Maori offenders fare less well in the judicial process than their Pakeha counterparts, being more likely to be prosecuted, to be convicted, and to receive more severe sentences. (C.McDonald,1986,
Department of Justice, cited in Justice Statistics 1990.)

Research into the health and development of a Canterbury birth cohort of children (to the age of 15 years) has examined ethnicity and socio-economic factors in offending.
This concluded, that for children living in the South Island, apparent ethnic differences in offending rates can be largely or wholly explained as being due to the combined effects of the socially disadvantaged status of Maori and Pacific Island children and bias in police contact statistics. ("Ethnicity and Bias in Police Contact Statistics, D.Ferguson et.al, in
Aust.& N.Z. Journal of Criminology, December 1993, pp.193-206).

On the basis of self or parentally reported offending, children of Maori/Pacific Island descent offended at about 1.7 times the rate of Pakeha children. However, on the basis of police contact statistics, and despite committing identical offences, these children were almost 3 times more likely to come to police attention than Pakeha children. These results were consistent with the hypothesis that official police contact statistics
contain a bias which exaggerates the difference in the rates of offending by children of Maori/Pacific Island descent and Pakeha children. (as above p.193.)

Maori have lower median incomes than non-Maori for all occupations. In 1996, Maori full-time employed, were almost two and a half times more likely than non-Maori to be in the lowest income range (<$10,000) than in the highest income range (>$50,000). 31% of Maori were in the lowest income quartile, and over-represented in the lowest two household income quartiles. (New Zealand Now - Maori, Statistics NZ 1998 Edition pp.73-85).

Ana said...

What is the Prison Industrial Complex?

The prison industrial complex (PIC) is a complicated system situated at the intersection of governmental and private interests that uses prisons as a solution to social, political, and economic problems. The PIC depends upon the oppressive systems of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia. It includes human rights violations, the death penalty, industry and labor issues, policing, courts, media, community powerlessness, the imprisonment of political prisoners, and the elimination of dissent.

Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. We believe that
basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. As such, our work is part of global struggles against inequality and powerlessness. The success
of the movement requires that it reflect communities most affected by the PIC. Because we seek to abolish the PIC, we cannot support any work that extends its life or scope


Research on the crime control industry


The Howard League for Penal Reform Factsheets