ACT’s Corrections Policy – Worthy of Serious Discussion?
When David Seymour rose to speak at ACT’s 2017 Conference, no one (including myself) expected him to propose a prison policy, aimed at the early release of prisoners.
From what I can garner, ACT’s policy was directed at a significant expansion of the literacy and numeracy programme in prison, on the basis of the following principles:
- Offenders who complete numeracy and literacy courses in prison, or passed their driving licence test, would have the length of their sentences reduced by up to six weeks a year, with a cap of 18 week’s reduction on a three year sentence – an 11.5% reduction;
- Well-educated prisoners who mentored other prisoners would also be eligible for a similar reduction in their sentence;
- ACT would make it easier for volunteers to gain approval to carry out this kind of work in prisons;
- Decisions on eligibility for the course, would be made by the Parole Board;
- The policy would be part of any coalition arrangement with National.
Just as exciting was the thinking behind the proposal. Prisoners needed positive incentives to become productive, law abiding citizens, David Seymour said. Many lacked the skills required to lead normal, productive lives. They needed to take responsibility for their lives, and this policy would provide that incentive. What is more, suitable volunteers and well-educated prisoners would run these programmes at a reasonable cost. Continue reading Disengaging from the ‘Tough on Crime’ Mantra