Data for Judges

Stuff reports:

Tackling health and education issues facing vulnerable Kiwi kids is the best way to keep them out of the country’s prisons, Justice Minister Amy Adams says.

A new approach to New Zealand’s justice system could also lead to judges making sentencing decisions based on data analysis of the most effective approach.

Adams launched the “investment approach to justice” on Monday morning, saying it was “quite a revolution” in the way the sector worked.

The better information we can give Judges, the better the decisions they can make.

An early “investment brief” also showed strong evidence that cognitive behaviour therapy helped to reduce crime, as one out of every five to 15 people would not reoffend after receiving treatment.

There are some criminals who won’t respond to anything. They’re simply bad or mad. And they need to be locked up. But many can be rehabilitated.

An early piece of analysis showed that people fined for offences like assault, shoplifting and drink-driving, were less likely to reoffend and access benefits than similar people sentenced to community service.

While judges were entirely independent and had ultimate discretion over sentences for criminals, Adams said they had similar motivations to reduce reoffending which the data analysis could help.

It’s a very good initiative.

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