The Department of Corrections has set up a paedophile village – outside the wire and a short walk from multiple schools – at Rimutaka Prison.
While the move has shocked a nearby parent who only found out after it was a done deal, a prison expert says Corrections is dealing with the tricky situation of housing child-sex offenders in the most-realistic way.
Mike Williams, head of penal reform organisation the Howard League, said prisoners had to be released eventually under supervision and nobody wanted them to move into their community so housing them on prison land was a solid compromise.
Sounds pretty sensible to me. A sort of halfway house.
So is it really “near schools and childcare centres” as the headline claims?
The prison grounds are 1.5 kilometres from Hutt International Boys’ School, 1.8km from St Brendan’s School, and Silverstream School is 2.8km away.
That is not near a school. I suspect there is no location in urban New Zealand that is not within 1.5 kms of a school. We have 2,500 schools in NZ.
As an example, there are 64 schools in Wellington City. Let’s assume they are equally spaced out. If each school has a circle around it with a 1.5 km radius then each schools takes up 7 square kms. 64 schools would take up 448 square kms.
The urban area of Wellington City is 442 square kms.
Being within 1.5 km of a school is not close to a school. That is fear mongering. Being 100 metres from a school is close. Being 1.5 km from a school just means you live in a city.
Local mother Gina Roberts on Thursday received an email from her daughter’s school and was immediately concerned as there were four schools or early childcare centres within 4km of the site.
If you say nothing can be within 4 km of a school or early chilldhood centre you are saying nothing can be within 50 square kms of a school or early child centre.
There are 8,000 schools and ECEs in NZ. So the exclusion zone for them would need to be 400,000 square kms. The total area of NZ is 268,000 square kms.
So this really is hysterical nonsense.