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Prisons vital in the plan to reduce crime

Hon Matt Robson
Minister of Corrections, for Courts
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

News release

Prisons vital in the plan to reduce crime, says Minister

16th January 2000 Immediate release

“Our goal is to move away from the notion that prisons are ambulances at the bottom of the cliff, filling up at an alarming pace,” says new Minister of Corrections, Matt Robson.

“Prisons are part of the process of stopping people fall off the cliff in the first place, but once in prison returning them as save members of the community.”

Matt Robson was reacting to the Department of Corrections Briefing papers released today.

“These papers reveal the legacy of failure left behind from the last government, despite their tough rhetoric on crime. Prison populations are predicted to rise by at least 40% by the year 2010, and more prison to house more offenders who have committed more crime would be inevitable.

“The good news is, the Department itself has plans to intervene before that figure becomes a reality, and I look forward to building on these strong initiatives to reduce re-offending and reduce the need for more prisons.

“I want to explore alternatives to prisons for some non-violent crimes. Home detention is working well so far, for example. These sorts of initiatives lessen the pressure on numbers in prisons.

“Youth crime is in need of urgent attention and the new government is making this a priority. We can build on the new pilot projects already set up which aim to give young offenders job skills and a second chance before they become hardened adult criminals, and fill our prisons.

“There are many other schemes that promise good results outlined in these papers, and according to overseas research, well designed intervention can reduce re-offending by up to 13%.

“The bottom line is that nearly all prison inmates return to society one day. Our goal is to make them productive members of society, and if that means taking a pride in your culture, learning job skills or how to be a good parent, then if it works, we’ll do it.

“These briefing papers are full of good new initiatives from the Department. It shows beyond a doubt that our prisons are best in public hands,” says Matt Robson.

ENDS

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