Rethinking Crime and Punishment considers that the government’s Reducing Crime and Reoffending Plan is the most comprehensive strategy to address the crime rate in the last twenty years. For that reason alone, it deserves to receive close attention . The Plan has in effect shifted the public dialogue from “what shall we do?” to “how shall we do it?”.
The New Zealand public has an important role in that discussion. NGO’s and service providers will have an enhanced role in working with victims and offenders of crime. Much of the new website content developed in 2013 and 2014, will engage people in a conversation about “what works” – “what is effective” and “What is the role of service providers, Maori and community organisations, and the public in reducing crime and social harm.
We have outlined the basic information in this webpage. We will continue to comment on aspects of the Reducing Crime and Reoffending Action Plan, as it proceeds.
In the Prime Minister’s speech to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce on “Better Public Services” (15 March 2012), he identified ten key results within the public service, including the reduction of crime and reoffending. There was no detail; primarily because there was no plan. Justice and Corrections officials were to come back with a plan to achieve those goals by the end of June 2012.
Rethinking’s Contribution to the Plan
At times of fiscal constraint, governments will ask their officials to put in place systems capable of preventing crime, and where these are not effective, to develop other responses to detect and punish it. All developed countries aspire to rehabilitate the criminals they catch to a greater or lesser extent. Yet the responses to crime can vary substantially from place to place, as do the costs of criminal justice systems and the outcomes they achieve.
In the four months leading to development of a final plan, Rethinking contributed six essays which it posted on its website. Policy analysts welcomed this independent analysis, and much of what we had to say influenced the government’s strategy.
The series of articles provided up to date information about the New Zealand criminal justice system, what is currently happening, and those interventions and responses that are not only likely to reduce crime and re-offending, but are also cost-effective.
Topic One: Comparing the New Zealand Criminal Justice System with other advanced democracies
Topic Two: Why the Crime Rate Should Fall in the Next Three Years
Topic Three: What Should We Do With Our Prisons?
Topic Four: The Place of Offender Rehabilitation in a Crime Reduction Strategy
Topic Five: How Should We Reintegrate Prisoners?
Topic Six: Maori Over-representation in the Criminal Justice System – Does Structural Discrimination Have anything to do with it?
You can read these six essays at: Rethinking’s Contribution to the Better Public Service Reducing Crime and Reoffending Plan
The Government’s Crime Reduction Plan
The Government’s Reducing Crime and Reoffending Plan was launched on the 3rd July 2012, and after the publication of the six articles.
You can read about the Government’s Crime Reduction Plan here
Read the Delivering Better Public Services: Reducing Crime and Reoffending Result Action Plan
The government has set ambitious Better Public Services targets for the justice sector: to reduce overall crime by 15%, violent crime by 20%, youth crime by 5%, and reoffending by 25% by June 2017.
Rethinking commented on the plan at the time of its release.
The justice sector has had a successful few years, with the recorded crime rate in 2011 reaching a 30-year low. Reducing the crime rate by a further 15% will be a challenge.
See Achieving our targets to find out about our action plans to reduce opportunities for crime, target vulnerable youth and youth offenders, reduce alcohol and drug abuse, and reduce reoffending.
See Progress updates for the latest results against our targets.
Read about Previous trends in the justice system for an overview of the patterns in crime, violent crime, youth crime and reoffending in New Zealand prior to 2012.
See Measuring results for detail on how our results will be reported and recorded and links to crime data.
View the Reducing Crime and Reoffending results on the State Services Commission website.
Across the justice sector and social sectors, supporting work is underway:
Addressing the Drivers of Crime is a whole-of-government priority that seeks to prevent crime by strengthening families and communities, reducing the impact of the facilitators and contributors to crime, and delivering effective justice. It has a particular emphasis on reducing Maori crime and victimisation.
Prevention First (NZ Police website) is the operating strategy for New Zealand Police 2011-2015. It puts prevention at the forefront of everything Police do, ultimately to reduce crime and crashes, and make New Zealand a safer place to live, visit and to do business.
Policing Excellence (NZ Police website) is a major change programme enabling Police to deliver better outcomes for victims, reassure communities, help stem the flow of cases into the criminal justice pipeline, and provide better and more consistent services throughout the country. Elements of Policing Excellence are incorporated into the Prevention First operating strategy.
Improved rehabilitation and reintegration (Department of Corrections website) will reduce reoffending through innovative approaches, finding local solutions to local problems and by engaging all Corrections staff in the effort to help offenders turn their lives around.
Fresh Start reforms (Child, Youth and Family website) focus on serious and persistent young offenders who agencies need to work with more intensively, holding them to account while still giving them the support and interventions that will address the underlying causes of their offending behaviour.
Other Better Public Services targets to Reduce long-term welfare dependency, Support vulnerable children, and Boost skills and employment (all on the State Services Commission website) will make an important contribution to our reducing crime targets.
At the time of release, the Department of Corrections prepared a series of six fact sheets, which flesh out the rationale for Corrections activity.
These fact sheets can be downloaded below:
Rethinking will comment on the plan, as it is progressively implemented. Any comment elsewhere on the website, will be linked back to this page.