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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 160848 Find in a Library
Title: Serious Offending and the Management of Public Risk in New Zealand
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:36  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1996)  Pages:18-36
Author(s): M Brown
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 19
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Amendments to New Zealand's Criminal Justice Act 1985 have produced a twin-track policy (two classes of offenders based on assessments of dangerousness); this study examines the effectiveness of this policy and related measures.
Abstract: The policy is based in the belief that citizens are disproportionately at risk from individuals who commit certain types of offenses and that the government should tailor its response to offenders according to the severity of harm caused by the offense for which a conviction was obtained. This analysis addressed the following core assumptions of the policy: that future harmful behavior (dangerousness) is adequately described and predicted by current behavior, that public exposure to the risk of serious crime is most effectively reduced by longer periods of imprisonment, and that comprehensive programs of post- release supervision and rehabilitation are appropriate for all prisoners as a means of reducing the risk of additional offending. The author concludes that not one of these three assumptions is clearly supported in principle by the available literature, and an examination of available New Zealand data reinforces the literature's conclusions. Apparently, the policy was developed more to manage public perception that the government is acting to protect citizens than to actually achieve that goal. Real reductions in violence are likely to be achieved by broadening the debate on violence, by recognizing and accepting its sociocultural roots, and by putting in place a multifaceted strategy for prevention. 45 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Dangerousness; Foreign correctional systems; New Zealand; Selective incapacitation; Violence prevention; Violent offenders
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