Submission on the Parole (Mandatory Completion of Rehabilitative Programmes) Amendment Bill

April 2024
Student Christian Movement Aotearoa (SCMA)

Tēnā koutou Justice Committee:

Student Christian Movement Aotearoa is a progressive Christian group in tertiary institutions across the motu. We write with grave concerns about the Parole Amendment Bill and the effects it will have on those in prison. As Christians, we are called to seek out and show compassion to all people, especially those who sit on the margins of society, such as those in prison. While not denying the harm done by those who are incarcerated, we also acknowledge the social complexity and those factors that are inextricable from those stories, such as abuse, colonisation, and addiction.[1]

We support the spirit of the amendment — that rehabilitation be a primary goal within the corrections system. But, we are deeply worried that the system as it stands now is not equipped or resourced enough to provide timely and accessible programmes. Parole Board chairman Sir Ron Young himself has written about his concerns over the lack of access to rehabilitation programmes,[2] and it does not seem that any systemic change has taken place since then.[3]

Access to rehabilitation programmes goes beyond personal motivation, and until these resourcing and systemic issues are addressed we urge the government to pause this bill.[4]

Ngā manaakitanga,

Michael Toy
Public Theologian
Student Christian Movement Aotearoa

[1] Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata, Justice Deparment,

[2]  Charlotte Cook, “Parole Board says prisoners waiting years for rehab, psychological help” RNZ,

[3] Tara Shaskey, “Corrections ‘failing’ prisoners and public as lengthy delays for rehabilitation programmes continue,” NZ Herald,

[4] Laura Johnstone, “Changes to NZ’s Parole Laws to Improve Rehabilitation Could Lead to Even Longer Prison Times,” The Conversation,

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