From Tough Justice to Smart on Crime

criminal justice lessons from the Lone Star State

  • Ben Brooks


New Zealand has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the OECD. The current Labour prime minister and the most recent National prime minister have both expressed support for addressing the rate of imprisonment. Nonetheless, New Zealand’s prison population continues to grow and is forecast to continue growing. This article investigates Texas’s experience of criminal justice reform; in particular, how they achieved a bipartisan consensus in favour of reform. It then looks at what lessons Texas’s experience might offer New Zealand. Finally, it highlights shortcomings of the Texan approach and what these might mean for New Zealand.


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How to Cite
BROOKS, Ben. From Tough Justice to Smart on Crime. Policy Quarterly, [S.l.], v. 16, n. 2, may 2020. ISSN 2324-1101. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 29 nov. 2020. doi: