Ben Brooks on From Tough Justice to Smart on Crime: Criminal Justice Lessons from the Lone Star State

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New Zealand has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the OECD and despite recent changes the prison population is expected to rise over the next decade. This impacts on families and communities, particularly Māori, doesn’t make us safer, and costs the taxpayer at least $1.1billion per annum and society as much as $12.1 billion per annum.

By contrast, since 2006 Texas has managed to reduce its prison population by nearly 15,000 and its imprisonment rate by over 23%. Over the same period the crime rate dropped by nearly 45% and the violent crime rate by nearly 20%. All this was achieved through reforms that enjoyed bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats.

Ben Brooks received funding from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to travel to Texas and learn about how they achieved this change and what lessons there might be for New Zealand. His talk will focus on how to build a political and public consensus for change.

Ben has worked for 15 years in national, state and local government in New Zealand and overseas, including at the Department of Corrections in New Zealand and the Department of Justice in Victoria, Australia. He is also an advisor to JustSpeak, one of New Zealand’s leading criminal justice advocacy organisations.

His time at the Department of Corrections enabled him to see first hand the problems of our current approach to criminal justice and the urgent need for reform. Since then he has been working to develop innovative approaches to tackling the political and policy challenges to moving to a safer and more effective criminal justice system.

November 5th, 2019 6:30 PM through  8:00 PM
12 Grafton Road
Business School
Owen Glenn Building, University of Auckland
Auckland, AUK
New Zealand

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