If you have more criminals you need more prisons

An inmate of Wellington prison watches the New Zealand vs Australia 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final game in his cell.

Baby-faced Jack Tame claims that building more prisons will not fix crime. To that statement, I would reply, catch and release programmes do not fix crime either. Fixing crime has nothing to do with prisons and never has had anything to do with prisons. Prisons are firstly to punish, secondly to keep criminals away from the public and thirdly to educate and rehabilitate.

[…] Prison is a profoundly archaic concept.

Don’t like what someone does? Lock them in a cell.

No one is suggesting our most dangerous criminals should be free to roam the streets, but as the previous Prime Minister put it, building more prisons is a moral and fiscal failure.

The moral failure is the families of the criminals who failed to instil moral values into them. The fiscal failure is to be expected. Prisons could be profit-making centres and prisoners could be put to work but our Unions and all our governments so far have?refused to make criminals earn their keep.

They could be learning skills that would?help them get jobs when they leave prison but politicians like our PM would respond that we would have to pay them minimum wage if we did that despite the extremely high cost of housing them and feeding them.

[…] A few quick fixes should help and banning private prisons is a good place to start.

There are few things more democratically offensive than a government overtly incentivising corporations to incarcerate its own citizens.

Why is making a profit bad? Governments and bureaucrats are historically useless with money and terrible at budgeting. Wasteful spending is common in the public sector. The government can insist on a certain standard of food and care and it is then up to the Private prisons to meet those standards if they are to keep the contracts. In comparison, just like with state schools a state-run prison can be terrible for decades and nothing will change.

Scrapping the senseless three-strikes law is another good move and a sentencing council makes sense.

Why? Tame gives no evidence or justification for his statements. It is get rid of this and get rid of that with no alternatives to offer.

But Andrew Little and the Government still face a daunting challenge if they’re to achieve their goal and sensibly lower the prison population by 30 per cent over the next 15 years.

First of all, they need the next Government’s support. And they’ll need to continue pouring resources into mental health and addiction services.

Oh there we go, the usual solution is suggested. You can fix crime by applying more money to one part of the problem.

-The Herald