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Head In Sand Approach Spells Prison Disaster

Robson's Head In Sand Approach Spells Prison Disaster

Tuesday 18th Jan 2000

Ken Shirley Media Release -- Justice

The Minister of Corrections, Matt Robson has today been told his 'head in the sand' approach will spell disaster for the country's prisons.

ACT Deputy Leader Hon Ken Shirley today said the Minister's actions in halting plans for three new prisons in Auckland and Northland and turning his back on the private management of prisons was irresponsible and dangerous.

"Mr Robson is living in fantasy land if he thinks a greater emphasis on rehabilitation programmes will cut the number of prison inmates so dramatically that no new prisons will be needed.

"Our prisons are already over stretched and the Minister's own Department estimates that by 2010 there will be almost three thousand more prisoners in the average daily muster. On top of that is the shocking record of our public prisons in terms of rehabilitation, recidivism, escapes and suicides.

"How can the Minister be 'reviewing the need for more prisons' when the numbers are there in black and white?

"New Zealanders have a right to be protected from dangerous criminals. They cannot afford a Government that is soft on criminals.

"This is typical political fudging. The Minister will put off building the prisons while the burden on the existing system grows. Finally, when the prisons do go ahead taxpayers will end up paying millions more for the new facilities because Matt Robson was blinded by his own ideology.

"92% of New Zealanders voted for tougher sentencing to keep them safe in their homes and on the streets. They did not vote for a Minister of Corrections who puts his own dreams and ideology ahead of their safety," said Ken Shirley.


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