11 comments on “Corrections should get rid of all 2,500 volunteers

  1. Ngapari Nui firing was a typical knee jerk reaction in response to bleatings from an uneducated pompous farmer and so long as idiots like Collins, Tolley, Adams, Bennett, et al inhabit the beehive nothing is likely to change. In modern economies businesses depend upon (and actively cultivate) repeat customers and Dept of Corrections is a big business dependent upon customers to survive. Reducing the prison muster is counter-productive to the McVicar kaupapa and whilst National remains in power McVicar dictates “Law and Order” policy.

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  2. Some good points Roger. Their are some big holes in your argument that you yourself may not want to see being Anti National. Blaming current government for the present situation is not a solution either.

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      • I’m not against halfway houses but they have been around for decades and come and go with the different ideologies in power. What is obvious though is what is called rehab in our prisons is just tweaked programs that have failed for decades and then even if they are let out to halfway houses the rehab in those is hit and miss with a success rate less than placebo effect. We need to look at the current rehab as tweaking what never did work for 4 decades hasn’t work and won’t work even if we have halfway houses.

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        • Halfway houses don’t come and go. There are only two funded by Corrections – because the Department takes next to no responsibility for inmates once they leave the prison gate.

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      • Roger, I totally agree with you regarding Corrections responsibility to fund reintegration housing and other professional services such as counselling. However your assertion that the high rate of re-imprisonment proves that Volunteers are ineffective is faulty reasoning to say the least. As you will know, many inmates have huge trust issues. They don’t trust the system and many don’t trust professionals. The old adage applies; no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care’’. Volunteers bring values such as kindness, human caring and respect into an environment where these values are often in short supply. A positive relationship with a volunteer who genuinely cares can catalyse change and help a man or a woman then open up to other specialised inventions.

        Professionals don’t have a monopoly on wisdom, common sense and life experience, all things valued by men and women in prison. That is why pro-social volunteers who have previously experienced the darker side of life and have learned from their mistakes, can be such valuable role models and mentors.

        Prison inmates tend to be astute observers of human nature. Most can size up people very quickly. The know the authentic from the fake; those who genuinely care and have their best interest at heart. The banning of Ngapari Nui appears to be a counterproductive reaction which might deprive those most needing them of helpful, pro-social influences from the very kind of person that men in prison might listen to and be influenced by.

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        • You make a very good point. But it doesn’t alter mine – which is that by relying on volunteers, Corrections absolves itself for responsibility for what happens when inmates leave prison. Finding suitable accommodation is a major problem for ex-prisoners. If the Department paid for halfway houses, volunteers would find it much easier to support inmates in the community.

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  3. A long time ago I used to work [unpaid] for probation volunteers in England. At various times I had staying with me 3 people just out of prison. None of these people committed another serious offence. A volunteer system can work up to a point even better are good professionals. There is a cost involved which is a good deal less than keeping a person in prison. Our over representation in matters relating to our prison population per head of population is no doubt caused by our reluctance to guide the prisoners after their sentence.

    Two other points are
    1) that some 70% of our prisoners have been in CYF “care” and
    2) the importance of rubbish collectors to our health and well being may be understated. In fact I would claim that rubbish collectors and sewage workers save more lives than all of the top doctors in this country put together. Maybe I would prefer a surgeon to operate on me but never underestimate the value of rubbish collectors in preventing disease, just remember the Black death. But that is another story.

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    • “1) that some 70% of our prisoners have been in CYF “care” and”

      Another prime example of a failed chance to rehab them early. The Current Psych Based Rehab just doesn’t work and never did. If it does work why are 70% of those in CYP’s Care ending up in prison?That certainly doesn’t yell success to me. The days when you could deliver a service that didn’t work and get paid for it without any kind of accountability are bygone days. My advice to anyone is find something that has some work ability with a success rate more than placebo effect. That would involve looking outside of the current monopolies as that’s all they can achieved, decades of failed attempts and tweaking has shown that.

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  4. Thank you Kevin, it is not that 70% of those in CYF’s care end up in prison, it is rather that 70% of those in prison have been in CYF care. CYF care appears to be the single most important common factor in prisoners, more important than ethnicity or sociological status.

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