Welcome to the New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform

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Welcome to the New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform


Photo: Government House

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the western world today….and it’s growing every day…

But with your help we can make a positive difference.

With a growing prison population penal reform has become increasingly important and urgent for New Zealand.

In New York State prison populations in the last few years have dropped by 20% as has the crime rate in that state. If we could manage the same result in New Zealand that would put us on par with Australia.

The savings to the taxpayer would be a quarter of a billion dollars every year and we would not need to build any new prisons.

Many other Countries are looking to reduce prison and recidivism. Inevitably the thousands in our prisons will come back to our communities and rehabilitation must be the focus to make sure they don’t reoffend.We need strategies tailored for New Zealand that have been adopted overseas that can be proven to reduce prison populations without compromising community safety.

About Us

The New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform is a Registered Charity with the Charities Commission in New Zealand.

Tony Gibbs CNZM – President

The Howard League’s work is vital to ensure that the penal system isn’t merely an expensive human scrap-heap New Zealanders should be ashamed of.

If we want safer communities and better outcomes from the penal system, we all have a part to play in making that happen. As a society we can’t simply wash our hands of the problem once the key is turned on a prisoner.

Inevitably the thousands in our prison will come back to our communities and rehabilitation must be the focus to make sure that they don’t re-offend.

I commend membership of the Howard Leagure to you as a positive step in the direction of a safe society and reduced taxpayer spending on what is turning into a fiscal black hole.

DameCathTizardDame Cath Tizard – Patron

Dame Catherine Tizard is quite simply a kiwi icon. From humble beginnings Cath was elected to the Auckland City Council in 1971 and began her three term Mayoralty of New Zealand’s biggest city in 1983. Between 1990 and 1996 she was Governor General of New Zealand.

As Patron of the Howard League she brings an unparalleled commitment to social justice, and a burning desire to reduce New Zealand’s rate of imprisonment which she describes as a ‘national disgrace’.

MikeWilliamsMike Williams – Chief Executive Officer

There are many tried and proven ways of bringing down our prison population without endangering our communities. Logically there are three key intervention points – before someone goes to jail, while they serve their sentence and what happens to them on release.

We can keep people out of jail by paying attention to those who get expelled from school, and through Court ordered alcohol and drug rehabilitation (especially for first offenders)

We can help prisoners with their eventual peaceful reintegration while serving their sentences though basic literacy courses and upskilling (as many as half of New Zealand’s prisoners are functionally illiterate).

We can also canvass employers for jobs for appropriate released prisoners. Overseas research shows that leaving jail for a job heavily reduces the chance of reoffending.

This means practical programmes which The New Zealand Howard League can, with your help, get off the ground.

We don’t need to have so many people in jail and we don’t have to. It’s up to us to get organised.