4 comments on “The prison population is out of control – this is why

  1. Hi roger thanks for the post. I’m a strong believer in prison reform and appreciate the work you do in this area. I’m concerned that some people may think that 30% decrease in crime is result of being tough on crime therefore increasing prison population is actually working to reduce crime. How do you respond to people who say this?

    Matt >


    • The factors which drive the crime rate are very different to the factors that drive the rate of imprisonment. Crime stats are driven primarily by poverty, mental health problems, alcohol & drugs and socio-economic policies – while the growing number of Kiwis in prison is driven primarily by Garth McVicar, the media’s response to violent crime and weak-kneed politicians who would rather listen to a farmer than an academic.

      The fact that Finland was able to cut the number of people in prison by 78% with no discernible increase in crime proves the point.

      See also: Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship: http://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Incarceration-and-Crime-A-Complex-Relationship.pdf


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