Q + A
The acclaimed government criminal justice summit has been launched for fanfare, but skeptics are doubtful about the outcomes it would achieve.
"If we want to talk about an effective justice system, we should not start with a discussion about prisons, but a discussion about New Zealand," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during an opening event in parliament on Monday.
The two-day summit will take place in Porirua and is expected to lay the foundation for a review of the legal system.
ROBERT KITCHIN / STUFF
A bloated prison population showing no signs of decline was at the center of the need for reform, and Ardern said she did not see the point of putting the blame everywhere.
"No one wanted to have a criminal justice system that scores us so high when it comes to confinement. I think we all realize that prisons are a moral and fiscal failure, and that we stay on a path that will make us a new prison every two three years is even more so. "
The summit has been in the making for months and is expected to bring together around 700 policy experts, academics and lawyers and front-liners for justice in a two-day series of workshops to develop a justice reform plan.
The summit would "shed light on what happened in prisons and arrests, and would contribute to the reform work of a government-appointed court panel, which also criticized its representation and an alleged lack of" frontline "workers.
The advisory group of 10 people, led by former National Member of Parliament and Justice Minister Chester Borrows, was announced last month to implement the Coalition Government's vision to restore the "broken" criminal justice system of New Zealand.
Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, announced two new members of the group, just head of the launch of the summit.
"Shila Nair and Quentin Hix add value through the expertise and experiences of India and Maori as the newest members of Uepū Hāpai i to Ora – The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group," he said.
Nair was an advisor at the Shakti nonprofit group in Auckland, while Hix had a law firm with more than 25 years of experience in a number of legal areas.
Little said that he was looking forward to the start of the summit.
"New Zealand needs less offensive, less recidivism and a national conversation about resolving the broken legal system."
Last week, the advocate of the law, Roger Brooking, pleaded for the summit, calling it "well-intentioned", but it is unlikely that he will implement lasting reforms.
"The real crisis in the legal system is in the rapid increase of the prison population." Mr. Little said he wants to reduce the prison population by 30 percent over the next 15 years. "Frankly, that is a ridiculous ambition without cooperation between national parties," Brooking said.
The national party spokesman, Mark Mitchell, said he was "very doubtful", that the top would raise good ideas, but that National would participate.
"National wants to ensure that every reform of the legal system will reduce crime, but also that the victims remain central to the legal system, but that the Justice Summit will be a talkfest between people with the same goal – to alleviate the punishments. for serious offenders, "Mitchell said.
"The government has only invited speakers who are going to tell what it wants to hear and do not bother to listen to victims who are worried about the plans to become soft." The agenda is as follows: a yoga convention with sessions such as & # 39; individual reflection & # 39; & & # 39; hope & # 39 ;. "
Mitchell said the government wanted to reduce the prison population by a third, "but it has no plan to reduce crime and nothing on the Summit agenda suggests that this is a focus".
"Instead, we will soften our bail, parole and condemnation laws to make it easier for criminals to come early and out of jail for them to be sent there."
According to official figures, the prison population rose from 8,500 to 10,800 in March this year, in six years, which means that there were more than 2,000 prisoners compared to 2011.
In recent months, the prison population was tracked and there were about 1,000 prisoners currently under the Justice Sector Forecast 2017.