I agree with Kelvin Davis’ criticism of the eagerness of certain MÄori groups to be involved in owning and operating the new private prison, and I think it’s a strong and principled argument.
My clear preference is for no private prisons. But if there are going to be private prisons (and it looks like a certainty), then all else being equal, wouldn’t it be better if they were (part-)run by MÄori, with a kaupapa MÄori focus (on rehabilitation, restorative justice, etc)? As I remarked, and as Eddie C sketched in slightly more detail in comments to my last post on the topic, the incentives are screwy for private prisons and rehabilitation, it’s hard to measure and hard to manage and as a consequence rehabilitation is even less effective than usual. But I can’t help but think that attaching a cultural incentive — the knowledge that one’s whanaunga are actually or potentially involved — might change that picture and take a few of the harsh edges off the “business of punishment” model employed by mainstram private corrections agencies.
… for why civilised societies which hope to remain civilised don’t lock violent children up with hardened criminals in the hope that they’ll magically reform into model citizens.
I’m talking about Bailey Junior Kurariki, whose latest offences, according to criminologist John Pratt, are a sign he has become institutionalised. Of course, his victim’s mother doesn’t think so, and neither do the usualreactionaries. The other lot aren’t all that much better. But perhaps that’s to be expected: when the only tool your populist justice positioning allows you to wield is a hammer, even a screwed-up 12 year-old kid looks like a nail to be smacked down as hard as possible.