Monday, September 11, 2017

No way to run a justice system

National ran of ideas on what to do as a government long ago, so it has been pushing being "tough on crime". Part of this has been trying to tighten access to bail. But longer sentences and no bail means full prisons... which in turn means Corrections are now assisting prisoners to get bail to free up cells:

Corrections has set up a dedicated team to help get inmates out of prison on electronic bail because it is running out of cells in which to keep them.

The specialist team initially targeted the growing number of female prisoners on remand by helping get electronic bail and a release from prison until their cases could be heard.

Corrections has confirmed the programme has now spread across the entire prison population as the number of inmates grows beyond the levels expected because of "tough on crime" policies.

On the one hand, this is good, because people shouldn't go to prison until they're actually convicted (innocent until proven guilty and all that). On the other, as the article points out, Corrections shoving people up the queue for bail hearings raises separation-of-powers and equal justice issues. And on the gripping hand, the overall picture is of a completely dysfunctional government which has no idea what it is doing, and is unwilling to pay the price of their policies by building new prisons, leaving agencies to just kludge along like this. And that's simply no way to run a justice system.