Pubdate: Tue, 01 Jul 2003
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2003
Author: Duncan Eddy


It's sad that Dunedin prison is becoming regularly overloaded, with the 
number of remand and sentenced prisoners exceeding the number of beds 
available (ODT 19-June 2003). Particularly since the majority of these 
inmates will be minor criminals and drug offenders.

New Zealand has the highest rate of imprisonment in the West after the 
U.S., and our government is building more prisons.  A growing prison 
population is a sign of an unhealthy society.  More attention should be 
paid to preventing people from going there in the first place.

It costs around $53,000 per year to keep someone in jail. It makes more 
social and economic sense to invest this money in education, families and 
communities. Conditions inside prisons often serve to corrupt and harden 
minor offenders, making them a greater risk than when they were imprisoned.

Prison should be a last desperate measure to keep people safe.  There are 
already far too many people behind bars who don't have to be there.


Duncan Eddy
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens