The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit today releases a Briefing Note calling for a new vision in
criminal justice policy.
Reconsidering the Aotearoa New Zealand Criminal Justice Policy Model, the first of a three-part series to be published over the next two months, surveys insights from a wide range of
domestic and international research to frame offending as a phenomenon that has deep roots in the psychological and
social challenges displayed by most offenders.
“Criminal justice is a problem of dispossessed and underprivileged individuals living in severely deprived communities,”
notes Lt. Colonel Ian Hutson, director of the Unit.
“Our Briefing Notes approach the problem in terms of the causal factors that give rise to offending, trying to avoid
grand theories or simplistic explanations.”
The report’s author, Dr. Vincent Wijeysingha, previously an inner-city social worker, hopes the Note will add another
voice to a growing debate advocating evidence-based methodologies to combat entrenched criminal outcomes.
“I’m particularly interested in alternative models of justice resolution. Christian organisations led the development of
restorative justice programmes and among indigenous cultures we also see methodologies based on the objective of
rebalancing the community after the harm caused by crime.”
“The report Ināia Tonu Nei—Now is the Time
recently published by Hui Māori confirms our view that New Zealand can learn alternative approaches from Te Ao Māori
which our report suggests may positively impact on criminal justice. Both offending numbers and reccidivism could
significantly improve,” he added.
The Salvation Army, which has worked with offenders in New Zealand since 1884, has consistently advocated a humane
approach to offenders which emphasises their human dignity and potential for growth and change.