In The News: Devon Polaschek on Recidivism

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Report by NewsroomPlus.com – Contributed by Amanda Carrington

Prison BarsNew research from a Victoria University professor shows a longer parole period will decrease the risk of prisoners reoffending.

Psychology professor Devon Polaschek’s work Surviving the first year explores how prisoners who are let out on parole are less likely to reoffend than if they served their full sentence.

The study shows how intensive psychological treatment may also help to make a difference in the first year out of prison.

A programme that provides treatment for serious violence offenders is the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme (STURP).

STURP is a ten-month long programme that works with prisoners to reduce reoffending by motivating them to adopt pro-social values.

The programme focusses on relationship difficulties, the relationship between alcohol and drugs and how they can get involved in community meetings and volunteer groups.

Offenders who completed the STURP programme were 37 per cent less likely to re-offend after their release.

The STURP programme is only available to prisoners who have a 70 per cent risk of reoffending and have served more than two years of their sentence. It is offered at four prisons nationwide.

New Zealand’s prison population has gone up 300 per cent since the 1980s, locking up more people than countries like Australia or Britain.

This new research came to light before reports of “fight clubs” in Mt Eden prison, and reportage of prisoners being caught using contraband cellphones.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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