Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Crime & Punishment'

Hotel Paremoremo


Pic: Lawrence Smith

Pic: Lawrence Smith











Those who regard New Zealand prisons as hotels  or holiday camps should read Rosemary McLeod’s excellent piece on Paremoremo in todays Sunday Star Times.

I have been to several New Zealand prisons to meet or interview men convicted of murder or manslaughter, including Dean Wickliffe, who shot a Wellington jeweller during the course of a robbery and gained further  notoriety by twice escaping  from Paremoremo, John James Murphy, convicted of murdering a young woman on Papaparaumu Beach and burying her body in the sand, and Dr David Minnitt who shot his wife Leigh and was found guilty of manslaughter. I’ve also given talks to prison inmates and made television programmes about their life inside.

On every occasion when I have spent time in a New Zealand prison, even those most forward thinking in their approach to crime and punishment, it has taken me days and sometimes weeks to overcome the deep depression, the black despair  which overtook me as I walked free through those gates and back into my normal life.

I have formed the view that no one is competent to express a view on New Zealand prison life until they have shared that experience.


Lazy Blogger Has No Choice But To Re-Hash Old Column On Hard Determinism







If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll have noticed that crime and punishment are predominant themes and that my position on these issues can be summarised as either pragmatic and enlightened or pie-in-the-sky wishy-washy liberalism. I’m not a great believer in punishment.

There are many reasons for this, the most important being that as a form of correction punishment is largely ineffective. We all want less crime, but putting people in prison for longer and longer doesn’t lead to less crime. It may in fact do the opposite.

Another important reason is that I’m a hard determinist, that is to say I don’t believe in free will. I’ve held this position since I was 16, long before the ever-expanding list of physical and personality traits that we now recognise as genetically determined had even been conceived.

Hard determinists have trouble with punishment, since blame can only attach to those with genuine freedom of choice.

Among my predetermined personality traits is laziness. If I weren’t so lazy, I would blog more often. But for the next few weeks I have an additional excuse. I’m on holiday. So I’ve decided to re-publish some columns I wrote for various newspapers and magazines over the years which have at least some relevance to the topics discussed on this site over the past year.   And where better to start than this piece from the Listener on why you really don’t have a choice. Read the rest of this entry »