By ensuring that there will be fewer people in prison, do TOP’s criminal justice policies sacrifice public safety?
No criminal justice system can credibly promise to protect us from all criminal violence, theft or dishonesty. However, The Opportunities Party’s criminal justice policies will make New Zealanders safer than they would have been.
First of all, we should remember that almost all prisoners will be released one day and that offenders who have done their time, are released every day. In our view, we are on the whole likely to be safer ifprison has prepared prisoners for life outside prison and the government invests in reintegrating them back into the community. At the moment so much money is spent on prisons that there is little left for these vital investments. As a result, within five years
of being released from a New Zealand prison, 70% of people will have reoffended. Only if the prison population is reduced, and so its cost lessened, will the government be able to invest properly in rehabilitation and reintegration.
Secondly, experts believe that prison probably causes crime. So while it is an essential part of the criminal justice system, it is not the answer and should be a small part of our response to criminal offending.
 Nadesu, Arul. (2009) Reconviction patterns of released prisoners: A 60-months follow-up analysis. Department of Corrections.