Back To School by Trevor Plumbly

There’s a place for us I’ve come to the conclusion that an element of cultured cunning is an essential part of the modern school teacher’s armoury and at last I’ve been proved right. Today was ‘Grandparents day,’ pardon my cynicism but I hail from a different time and social strata than the current crop. Relatives weren’t welcome in school grounds in my day, a visit meant that, (a) deep trouble was on its way, or, (b) they were checking the scrap metal value of the lead on the roof. Either way a… Read More

Whatever Happened to Outrage by Trevor Plumbly

Swings and Roundabouts New Zealand is a green and peasant land on the face of it, relatively crime free by most other standards and, if the tourist publicity image is to be believed, populated by easy-going folk with a love of the great outdoors, rugby and livestock. But, like everywhere else, we’ve got our dark spots and, just like everywhere else, we’re not quite sure what to do about them. We basically operate under the British system, which god knows has tried for centuries to get to grips with crime. Hanging, hard labour,… Read More

The Purpose of Prison by Angela Caldin

In the wake of the Rolf Harris trial, which resulted in a guilty verdict and a prison sentence of nearly six years, it’s interesting to ask the question what purpose does a prison sentence serve? There are four main purposes for sending someone to prison once it has been decided that the crime committed is so serious that only prison is justified: Punishment or retribution – society wants to see those who commit serious crimes punished by being deprived of their liberty. Victims in particular may want to see perpetrators serve a… Read More

Books for Prisoners by Angela Caldin

I’ve been thinking a lot about prisoners today, in particular about the fact that they can no longer be sent books (among other things) by family and friends. I’ve been wondering whether, if I was a prisoner, I would care about being deprived of books or whether I’d be just as happy passing the hours of incarceration watching TV and vegetating. The Ministry of Justice announced changes last year which prohibited prisoners receiving parcels (except in certain specific circumstances), including those from family and friends. One reason given was the danger of… Read More

“In the Bonds of Love We Meet”??? or Fair Go Part 2 by Trevor Plumbly

Like most major cities, Auckland is a bit of a cultural and ethnic melting pot, made more so in recent years by immigrants from Asia, Africa, UK and greater Europe, all arriving in the hopes of finding a better or safer existence. At the risk of being accused of stereotyping, I honestly feel that those who arrive from Asian countries are usually prepared to work longer and harder than a lot of others, including ‘native’ New Zealanders; in short, most seem to regard hard work as an access road rather than a… Read More