The closing session of the International Conference on Penal Abolition VIII produced 18 resolutions. These resolutions are declarations that represent immediate steps towards penal abolition. As a postgraduate student of Criminology and secondly as a lawyer I come around to abolitionist principles and ideas. Therefore, I feel in with the abolitionist struggle to distribute these resolutions and to spread the address of abolitionism. The following resolutions are the declaration of all those participated in the Eighth ICOPA and among them were leading critical criminologists and sociologists such as Hal Pepinsky (Indiana University, USA), Monika Platek (Law, Warsaw University, Poland), Gerry Ferguson (Law, University of Victoria, Vancouver, Canada), Allison Morris (Institute of Criminology, Victoria, Wellingthon, New Zealand), Thomas Mathiesen (University of Oslo, Norway) and many others. The resolutions are:
«While standing clearly for complete penal abolition, ICOPA supports these immediate steps as a means of achieving the goal»
1. ICOPA VIII urges the government of Aotearoa/New Zealand to encourage and support community-control 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 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» 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 is 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 VII demands an end to the killing of people by police forces.
Eighth International Conference on Penal Abolition - 18-21 February 1997 - Auckland New Zealand - Aotearoa