Salvation Army tells Andrew Little to put money where mouth is

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is in favour of fewer people in prison.

They say the Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, should put his money where his mouth is and to scrap the planned mega-prison.

Rather than incarcerating people, the Salvation Army says the money is better spent on re-integration programmes.

Former Justice Minister Judith Collins has sent a warning to Andrew Little, saying victims of family violence aren’t going to have the same protection if he changes the country’s bail laws.

Collins said the “main driver” behind tightening bail laws was to protect victims of family violence.

In the last 20 years, prison numbers have doubled. Little wants to reduce the prison population by 30% over the next 15 years.

He says “tough-on-crime” style policies had not worked and it was a time for a shift in philosophy.

Harsher punishments and more prison beds were not bringing numbers down, Little told RNZ.

He said many prisoners had health and mental health issues and a proactive approach rather than prison was required.

The Salvation Army said Little’s view was music to their ears.

“Often people that offend have mental health issues. And if all you’re doing is investing in what is, in a sense, the punitive end of things, it’s a backwards step in many respects”, said Ian Hutson of the Army’s social policy unit.

Collins however told Stuff that before Little talks about changing laws around violent offending, bail laws in particular, he needs to actually consider why they were put there in the first place.

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News category: New Zealand.

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