The Robson Hanan Trust was established to enhance the public debate on criminal policy.
Building upon the success of “Rethinking Crime and Punishment (Rethinking)”, the Trust has assumed responsibility for its ongoing development.
The Trust seeks a tolerant, inclusive and safe society, marked by respect for the inherent dignity of all of its members, for safety in all communities and by implication the absence of violence. The Trust recognises that a very small percentage of people will always be a threat to society and will need to be contained. Nevertheless, its vision for criminal policy is to focus on addressing the causes of crime and shift the primary direction of correctional policy from incarceration to restoration.
In giving substance to its vision the Trust seeks mainly to advance public appreciation of sound criminal policy by reference to proven, evidence-based research from home and abroad, and its succinct, balanced and clear presentation for public consumption.
In promoting its vision the Trust seeks consistency with these values:
Maintaining respect to enhance the mana and safety of all persons irrespective of their opinions, background, religion, culture, political leaning or social status.
Encouraging respectful dialogue in the community and engaging communities to find non-violent solutions to criminal and aberrant behaviour.
Maintaining operational independence, setting aside political, commercial or personal interests
In the case of Maori, promoting Maori solutions to Maori problems in Maori contexts
Maintaining honest and reliable presentations, with sound research and balanced analysis
Maintaining quality work that is clear, relevant, rigorously tested and accessible to all audiences
Maintaining fair and just responses to crime, challenging disadvantage, discrimination and inequality.
The Trust advances the following principles as supported by the current research.
Criminal sanctions are important, but by themselves they are inadequate. Public safety requires social and economic justice and a range of political interventions to suit.
Crime cannot be managed by the State alone. There must be community sanctions and engagement.
Criminal justice interventions should be proportional, and based on evidence of that necessary to achieve inclusion, reparation and deterrence.
Criminal justice policy and practice should achieve minimum resort to custody and other restraints on liberty while giving due regard to public safety.
Criminal justice policy should address the crimes of the powerful (both individual and corporate) and the impact of corporate crime on the community, as well as those crimes associated with the least powerful sections of society.
Criminal justice policy should be consistent with international, human rights norms.
Criminal justice policy requires a broader appreciation of who are victims, and should treat victims, offenders, suspects and witnesses with dignity and respect.