Every few days another piece of research evidence or personal testimony heaps criticism on the ineffectiveness of our prison system in reducing reoffending. The latest is Corrections’ failure to meet its 2017 goal of reducing reoffending by 25%: there has only been a 4.5% reduction.
Taxpayers now spend a whopping $100,000 per year to keep one inmate in prison. Why is our Government so dedicated to building more prisons to accommodate more prisoners when criminologists know imprisonment does not effect positive change?
In Denmark, criminal justice policy is rarely subject to party political debate; decisions about best practices lie with criminal justice professionals and the media do not sensationalise crime; in fact they rarely report it, unlike our politicians and media.
With fewer people imprisoned, Denmark nevertheless has a lower incidence of crime and recidivism than New Zealand, as has California, which reduced its prison numbers by 27,000 in 2011 with no subsequent spike in crime.