One man’s protest is another man’s celebration

10,000 scumbags in prison. ?And with the crime stats as they are, that’s still not enough.

Prison abolitionist group No Pride in Prisons held a march to the Mount Eden Corrections Facility today to protest the prison population reaching 10,000 people.

Hundreds of protesters made themselves heard throughout the Auckland CBD as they marched from Aotea Square to Mt Eden Prison, demanding an end to mass incarceration. The march ended with speakers, including Marama Davidson MP and speeches written by people currently in prison. They were followed by live music played for both marchers and prisoners.

Spokeswoman for the group Emilie R?kete says, “Prisons don?t do what they say they do. Corrections says that prisons rehabilitate people, but the reality is that prisons are violent.”

“The government is wasting money locking 10,000 people away while inequality worsens.”

The public don’t care. ? If you are stupid enough to get put into prison more than once in your life, then as far as I’m concerned, you’re in the right place. ?The rest of us really don’t care about how equal you feel. ?

The group is demanding two changes: the repeal of the Bail Amendment Act 2013, which it says has lead to an increase in prisoners being held without conviction, and a halt to the construction of a new facility at Waikeria prison.

“After harsh bail restrictions were passed in 2013, the population of prisoners on remand has ballooned. Most people on remand have not been found guilty of anything and may never be found guilty. Rather than deal caringly and intelligently with people who have been accused of social harm, the government has chosen to cram them into overcrowded, violent, unsafe environments.”

“The new prison facility at Waikeria is being built because Corrections can?t cope with this massive influx of prisoners. The obvious solution is to repeal the Bail Amendment Act and cancel the construction of the prison.”

“We marched today to put pressure on the government to act,” R?kete continues.

“The enormous human and financial waste that is our prison system cannot continue.”

Oh yes it can. ?Because by not doing it that way, we have an enormous human and financial waste of the general population being assaulted, raped, burgled and killed.

Thank God we have a government that’s put society ahead of criminals.

Long may it continue.