About Us

The New Zealand Howard League

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.

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.

CEO Mike Williams awarding a Literacy Programme certificate at Christchurch Womens Prison.

Tony Gibbs - 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.

Dame 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’.

Mike 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.

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Help the NZ Howard League reach its goals in reducing prisoners reoffending, reducing the prison population, and helping with positive reintegration into communities, without endangering the safety of those communities.

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