Ever since the penitentiary became a mainstream corrections device two centuries ago, there has been a continuous search for something that 'works' in terms of reforming criminal offenders.
In its correctional evolution New Zealand has been primarily influenced by developments in England and the United States. It has also been creative in finding its own directions. This has resulted in many variations in government policies, each directed towards the objective of reducing crime.
This book weighs the complex factors that have driven New Zealand's correctional philosophy and practice since 1840. For more than 160 years New Zealand has struggled to find a formula for dealing with criminals in a humane, workable and effective way. For the most part, the quest has failed. Deterrent, retributive, reformative, custodial and community programmes have all had their day and not one has proved to be significantly better than any other in the general treatment of criminality, and reoffending rates remain quite uniform.
Greg Newbold's latest book examines this international problem and suggests why the reformation of criminals is so difficult.