ICOPA VIII – NewZealand 1997

Eighth International Conference on Penal Abolition
18-21 February 1997 Auckland New Zealand / Aotearoa

The following index presents the title and author of the papers presented at the conference. A printed publication is available and also a 15-minute video in PAL or NTSC formats in May 97. Contact Justice Action for details.


Eighth International Conference on Penal Abolition
18-21 February 1997Auckland New Zealand / Aotearoa

Index of Papers Presented

The following index presents the title and author of many of the papers presented at the conference. We anticipate publication within this web site of many of the conference papers and/or abstracts.
A print publication will be available by midyear 1997. A 15-minute video will be available in PAL or NTSC formats in May 97. Contact Justice Action for details

Yakov Gilinskiy
Institute of Criminology St. Petersburg, Russia
Ê The Criminal Justice and Penitentiary Policy in Contemporary Russia

Hal Pepinsky
Indiana University, USA
Crimeless Victims

Dr. Pita R. Sharples
Hoani Waititi Marae, Auckland, New Zealand
I Hate Prisons. They are an Anachronism of Our Society.
They Destroy Lives and They Impact Negatively Upon Us All

Dr. Ruth Morris
Rittenhouse, Toronto, Canada
Ê My Journey From Misery Justice to Transformative Justice

Jim Consedine
Christchurch, New Zealand
Restorative Justice – Towards Abolition or Retrenchment?

Helen Barnacle
Victoria, Australia
Innovative Responses to Drug Problems

Kim Pate
Elizabeth Fry Societies, Ottawa, Canada
Recent Issues Impacting Women’s Imprisonment in Canada
Pat Clark/Laura Magnaniam
Friends Service Comte. California, USA
The U.S. Prison Build-Up – 1997

Helen Bowen
Auckland, New Zealand
Restorative Justice – Training Issues

Marcela Gutierrez
Cntr. Criminal Policy Research, Columbia, South America
Crime Victim Surveys in Columbia

Dianne Martin
Law School, York University, Ottawa, Canada
Reversing Retribution: Feminist Criminal Law Revisted

Elizabeth Morgan
Auckland, New Zealand
The Washington D.C. Jail Experience:
The Relationship to Child Prostitution and Violent Crime

Damasio E. De Jesus
Penal Law, Brazil
“Depenalisation: The Establishment of Special Criminal Courts in Brazil and Its Influence on the Application of Alternative Punishment”

Monika Platek
Law, Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland
Penal Abolition: Impossible Dream?

Gerry Ferguson
Law, University of Victoria, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Youth Custody and Alternatives to Youth Custody in British Columbia and Canada

Mahgoub El-Tigani Mahmoud
Vanderbilt U. Nashville, Tenn., USA
Alternatives to Prison: An Arab / African Perspective

Elaine Dyer
Auckland, New Zealand
The Alternatives to Violence Project and Its Role in Exploring a Better Approach to Offending Within the Prisons and Communities of the World.

Frans Denkers
Centre of Ethics, Catholic U.
Nijmegen, Netherlands
Values in Police work

Allison Morris
Institute of Criminology, Victoria U., Wellington, NZ
Re-Forming Juvenile Justice: The New Zealand Experiment

Thomas Mathiesen
University of Oslo, Norway
Towards the 21st Century – Abolition, an Impossible Dream?

ICOPA – VIII Workshop Resolutions

18-21 February 1997 Auckland New Zealand / Aotearoa
The closing session of ICOPA VIII produced 18 resolutions.

Insofar as all delegates advocate penal abolition, these declarations represent immediate steps towards that goal.

The resolutions illustrate the extent to which countries from all over the world experience the elements of crisis in criminal justice and penal systems.

ICOPA participants encourage all who support meaningful alternatives to current penal systems based upon retributive justice to utilise and distribute these resolutions as widely as possible. *

The Resolutions:


The delegates to the 8th International Conference on penal abolition, held in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand in February 1997, come from 17 countries and four continents; we are justice officials, agency workers, lawyers, community workers, judges, and people who have lived in prison as well as been victims of crime.


For 16 years, ICOPA has stood firmly for the abolition of ALL prisons, recognising that prisons are an archaic and inhumane response to our social differences. Since 1987, ICOPA has advocated penal abolition, rejecting punitive and retributive systems for those which promote healing for victims, offenders, and communities.

While standing clearly for complete penal abolition, ICOPA supports these immediate steps as a means of achieving that goal:
1. ICOPA VIII urges the government of Aotearoa/New Zealand to encourage and support community-controlled community group conferences as an official response to adult crime. We urge that victims and offenders and officials who have experienced youth justice family group conferences be consulted as to methods of implementing such conferencing with a view to achieving restorative/transformative justice outcomes.
2. ICOPA VIII opposes all for-profit privatisation of incarceration and detention. In particular, ICOPA VIII opposes restrictions on access to information and research on such privatisation.
3. ICOPA VIII condemns the gross over-representation of indigenous and minority peoples in the penal systems of the world and supports the call of these peoples for self-determination.
4. ICOPA VIII calls on the United Nations to put restorative/transformative justice on the main agenda of the next Congress on Crime in the year 2000.
5. ICOPA VIII supports the protection of youth and children. Accordingly, as an urgent priority, ICOPA VIII calls for the immediate release of women prisoners who are pregnant or who are mothers.
6. ICOPA VIII condemns the imprisonment of young people and calls for the implementation of restorative/transformative justice to deal with youth offending. 7. ICOPA VIII further supports and promotes restorative/transformative justice for all people.
8. ICOPA VIII supports the decriminalisation of illicit substances.
9. ICOPA VIII condemns the actions of the Canadian government in constructing more prisons units for women, including the recent decision to house women in maximum-security units in men’s prisons, a decision which takes womens’ imprisonment back to the turn of the century.
10. ICOPA VIII condemns all moves everywhere which increase the size of and the profit motive in the prison industry.
11. As a concrete expression of our commitment to penal abolition, ICOPA VIII members undertake to organise action(s) in support of penal abolition on August 10th, Prisoners’ Justice Day.
12. ICOPA VIII supports the decriminalisation of offences by people who are mentally ill and intellectually challenged; such acts should be dealt with as health and welfare rather than criminal issues.
13. ICOPA VIII calls on the government of Aotearoa/New Zealand to:
(a) place a moratorium on the construction of any more prisons in this country;
(b) release all minimum security prisoners currently held in this country’s prisons;
(c) use the resources allocated for the building and maintenance of these institutions for resourcing existing successful community-based options;
(d) provide for a public accounting for the spending of this money in a manner which is freely available for public scrutiny.
14. ICOPA VIII condemns the United States of America for being the first country in history to openly admit that it holds over 1 million people in custody and over 5 million people under the control of its criminal justice systems. ICOPA VIII expresses grave concern that the majority of USA prisoners are Native-Americans, Latinos, and African-Americans, and asserts that the only way to develop an equitable society is to completely dismantle the penal system of the USA. ICOPA VIII condemns the USA for promoting private, for-profit prisons in other countries.
15. ICOPA VIII condemns the death penalty as an appropriate penalty in any criminal justice system.
16. ICOPA VIII demands an end to the killing of people in and by prisons.
17. ICOPA VIII acknowledges that people who die soon after leaving prison, having died as a result of being in prison, should be recognised as deaths resulting from imprisonment and should be condemned.
18. ICOPA VIII demands an end to the killing of people by police forces.

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