Prisons – within the Walls

in Auckland have a forum this Wednesday at 6.30 pm at the Alleluya Cafe in St Kevin’s Arcade on K Road.

JustSpeak invites you to the second of the three-part Beyond Prisons series of discussions looking at New Zealand’s prison system and the possibilities beyond incarceration.

Following on from our first forum, which focused on the wider societal impact of prisons, this forum seeks to better understand life inside of prisons. The daily realities of prisons are largely hidden from the general public. This forum will examine the impact of imprisonment on the individual and those closest to them.

We will hear from four panelists, all of whom have themselves experienced life within the walls or worked closely with prisoners:

– Denis Bumbury, a counsellor therapist and currently a chaplain at Mt Eden Prison
– Lois Naera, a social worker with Pillars, an organisation that works with the children of prisoners;
– Mike Templeton, a former prisoner who now works with prisoners; and
– Steve Hall, Director of Reducing Re-Offending for Serco NZ, the company that holds the contract for Mt Eden Corrections Facility.

This forum will be a rare opportunity to hear stories and insights from those who have been subject to incarceration and those working within prisons, including their thoughts on whether prisons fulfil their four primary functions: punish, deter, protect and rehabilitate.

There will also be an opportunity to ask the speakers questions.

As usual, entry is free and light refreshments will be provided – all welcome.

I was on a panel at a similar forum last week, discussing the recent law change around prisoner voting rights, and thought it was a good discussion (even though I was in a very distinct minority).

I am of the view that some prisoners will not respond to rehabilitation until age gets the better of them (and they are sadly the majority) but there are a significant number who will and can be rehabilitated and it would be fascinating to hear some views from the frontline, including Serco’s.

If you want to go along, just RSVP on Facebook (or just turn up).

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