Going into bat for Graham CapillThe media is reporting that former Christian Heritage leader and sex offender Graham Capill has been denied parole again because his victims - and the Parole Board - believed he would pose an undue risk to others in the community. He has four years and nine months to go to complete his sentence.
I have received a copy of the decision of the Parole Board (Update: it is here [PDF])
While I'm no fan of Capill, I have known for some time that he has been trying for some time now to get into a programme for sex offenders. He has not been able to do so, which was why he was denied parole each time. Yet, according to the decision of the Parole Board, he may not get the treatment until 2011 - in which case a parole hearing next year will be a pointless exercise and a fait accompli.
But what the media does not report is that there has been a bit of a disagreement about which sex offender programme Capill should be on. He wants to go on one- the STOP programme - a community-based programme, but his psychologists want him to go on the Kia Marama one, in prison. He is waiting to be treated on the latter programme. Yet Capill may not even get accepted onto that programme until 2011, because the 60-bed unit is always full, and he is down the waiting list behind those who have been behind bars for longer.
What that means that Capill has had no treatment at all, partly because of a scrap about treatment providers, partly because the two treatment providers have no available beds in their 60-bed units. Irrespective of what you think of criminal offending, after four years in prison, it that is not good enough. Prisoners should get treatment before reaching two-thirds of their sentence - otherwise why have parole after one-third for these people?
If the Government wants to put more people in prison, it should build more treatment units to treat them - otherwise prisoners will be denied parole because they have had no rehabilitation or treatment - only for many to be released without treatment at the end of their sentence, angry, and just as likely to reoffend.
update Since writing this post I have been advised that the reason Capill preferred the STOP programme to the Kia Marama one was because the former one aligned more to Christian principles. I pointed out that Capill is a sex offender, so his "Christian principles" probably don't count for much.
update2 The Press has a story this morning( Wednesday) covering some of the above points. It also says:
The Corrections Department said yesterday that Kia Marama was prioritised for prisoners near the end of their sentences.
"The programmes are designed to assist offenders live an offence-free life in the community," it said. "For this reason, they are best attended close to the point at which the offender will be released.
"We aim to schedule eligible offenders about one year prior to their parole date. For example, a prisoner on a nine-year sentence who needs to attend the Kia Marama programme will be at the end of his fifth year in prison.
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