Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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Crime and Punishment

This was the topic of the 2019 Aotearoa/New Zealand Quaker Lecture, this year presented by Terry Waite, British humanitarian and former hostage for nearly five years. This lecture addresses the issue of penal reform, where Terry brings his personal experiences to this pressing issue, both for the UK and New Zealand.   You can read the text of Terry’s lecture here (PDF format)

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“We must not forget that when every material improvement has been effected in prisons, when the temperature has been rightly adjusted, when the proper food to maintain health and strength has been given, when the doctors, chaplains and prison visitors have come and gone, the convict stands deprived of everything that a free man calls life. We must not forget that all these improvements, which are sometimes salves to our consciences, do not change that position. The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of any country. A calm and dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused against the state, and even of convicted criminals against the state, a constant heart-searching by all charged with the duty of punishment, a desire and eagerness to rehabilitate in the world of industry all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment, tireless efforts towards the discovery of curative and regenerating processes, and an unfaltering faith that there is a treasure, if you can only find it, in the heart of every man these are the symbols which in the treatment of crime and criminals mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation, and are the sign and proof of the living virtue in it.”

Winston Churchill, House of Commons speech, given as Home Secretary, July 20, 1910