U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Prison Review -- Te Ara Hou: The New Way

NCJ Number
Date Published
287 pages
This review of New Zealand prisons proposes prison system reform based on the humane containment of hard core offenders and habilitation centers designed to insure that offenders are confronted with the reality of their crimes and the need to change their behavior.
Twenty existing prisons and a new prison under construction were visited, and 250 inmates and 120 staff members made oral or written submissions. The review committee determined that long-term containment is the only alternative for some inmates. For many inmates, however, the existing prison system does not rehabilitate or deter, and a high recidivism rate clearly indicates that failure. One reason for the failure is that imprisonment does not confront inmates with their crimes, and the denial and rationalization of the reality of crime are unintentionally encouraged by existing prison procedures. Further, punishment is seen as synonymous with imprisonment and is often regarded as the solution to crime. Following a detailed discussion of prison staff issues, inmate services, women and special groups, justice issues, and prison management issues, a series of prison reforms are recommended. Primary recommendations focus on the use of habilitation centers separate from local prisons, the use of a placement and assessment system to replace the existing inmate classification process, and the use of community containment officers with responsibility for the security of inmates outside prisons. Other recommendations are that all prison inmates be housed in medium security local prisons except those who qualify for habilitation centers, that inmate services facilitate physical and mental well-being, that no child under 16 years of age be sent to prison, and that a code of minimum standards for the treatment of inmates be developed. References and figures.