Drug user liberation: A cause for social work

a post by James Tiptree Sr.

In January this year, the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill had its first reading in Parliament. It now sits in front of the Select Committee, from whom a report is due by the end of July 2018. The Bill calls for an exception to the 1975 Misuse of Drugs Act by offering a statutory defence for people to use cannabis as long as they are sufficiently close to death (that is, terminally ill with 12 months left to live). This proposal has prompted a range of submissions – from professional bodies mainly concerned with regulation and with having a firm line  drawn between medical and recreational cannabis ; from organisations for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities who will remain unable to legally access  medical marijuana under this bill; and from groups that seek either the total legalisation of marijuana …or the total legalisation of all drugs.

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Reducing Prison Numbers

post by  Sophie Young

New Zealand prisons are full. New Zealanders are debating whether to build more prisons and lock away more criminals, or to somehow reduce the numbers of prisoners. We have the seventh-highest prison population rate in the OECD, with 155 prisoners per 100,000 population (Stats NZ). We also have statistical evidence suggesting institutional racism. In 2016, Māori made up 15% of the general population and 55.6% of people receiving prison sentences (Johnston, 2016).

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The system isn’t working: support for rape victims

post by Suzette Jackson

Trigger warning : rape

A close friend* of mine was raped recently. She called me immediately afterwards to be with her. There is no way to explain just how powerless I felt. I hugged her as she cried. I was there when the police came. They asked questions about her behaviour and her drinking the night before. I felt angered that this even came up as an important point. They took away bedding and underwear. Her boyfriend raged. He tried convincing her not to press charges. He was all for vigilante justice. I tried to be a voice of reason. I said I thought the police were better now, that the system was better now, and that she could get some resolution from the process. Continue reading “The system isn’t working: support for rape victims”

Do the crime, nameless in time: The media and name suppression.

post by Anonymous

Name suppression seems to be something that is offered easily to offenders, despite political opinion, and something that becomes far more damaging to victims than the offence itself. This blogpost will sit from the stance of victims who are silenced and who are not given closure to heal through the name suppression of their perpetrator. It will not look at victims who are granted name suppression themselves.

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State House Tenants Deserve Compensation

post by Faith Freeman

An anonymous tip-off. Odd-looking behaviour. A ‘suspicion’. That was all it took for Housing New Zealand to swing into its ‘zero tolerance to methamphetamine’ action plan (Brown, 2016).

Step 1: Mobilise 20 to 30 Housing New Zealand staff per property to investigate and act.

Step 2: Erect yellow warning tape around the home so that it looks like the scene of a police murder investigation.

Step 3: Employ private meth-cleaning contractors, decked out in boiler suits, breathing apparatus and gas masks to test for the most minute trace of methamphetamine and launch full-scale de-contamination of the property.

Step 4: Evict vulnerable state house tenants onto the street and blacklist them for 12 months.

Step 5: Make sure state home is left empty for months in the middle of the country’s worst ever housing crisis.

Step 6: Take evicted state house tenants to the Tenancy Tribunal to retrieve costs for the above.

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The State of Aotearoa New Zealand Abortion Law

post by Juliette

Aotearoa New Zealand’s current laws around abortion are ancient, and presents demoralising, dysfunctional, and sexist views of women. Abortion in New Zealand is represented as a crime, with limited exceptions to access, as it features in the Crimes Act 1961. The topic of abortion is a very controversial one, with heavy and alive debates that are concerned with weather to remove abortion from the crimes act and formally decriminalise it to make it a health issue as opposed to a criminal one. Other laws that regulate abortion in Aotearoa New Zealand are the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 and the Care of Children Act 2004. For a more in-depth account of these pieces of legislation see the law around abortion.

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Babies behind bars

post by Princess Leia

For a number of years, the practice of ‘babies behind bars’ has grown in popularity. This phenomenon has been increasing over the past ten years in many different countries, including America and the United Kingdom. Netflix has even released a documentary about one of these occurrences in the United States. The situations always play out relative to mothers and babies within female prisons. In the UK, the units cater for mothers with babies under the age of eighteen months as women who either give ‘birth in prison or have a child under 18 months old they can apply to bring their child to prison with them’.

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Prisons almost reaching full capacity and offender rates continue to rise

post by Joe Bloggs

There has been a political dilemma held by the current New Zealand government over whether to build a ‘mega-prison’ that will be able to hold an additional 3000 offenders. New Zealand is already home to 15 male prisons and 3 female prisons that total almost 11,000 inmates and continues to rapidly increase. The debate over whether the build should go ahead has gained strong public opinions, both for and against the potential Waikeria landmark. Prisoner numbers are so close to maximum capacity that those who are remanded and sentenced are having to be held within police cells. And with public perceptions that prisoners are “dangerous” citizens and should be confined to prevent committing crimes (Clear & Schrantz, 2011) an urgent decision needs to be made on the way forward.

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