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Robson Wrong On Prisons

Media Statement For Immediate Release

Dr Wayne Mapp Associate Justice Spokesman

18 January 2000

Robson Wrong On Prisons

Matt Robson's decision to put the building of three new prisons on hold shows he is riding roughshod over New Zealanders' clear demand for violent criminals to be locked away for longer," National's Associate Justice Spokesman, Dr Wayne Mapp, said today.

The referendum showed an overwhelming demand from New Zealanders for a tougher approach to violent crime, which Matt Robson has decided to ignore.

"To put the prison programme on hold, especially Northland prison, is to ignore the realities of violent crime in New Zealand, " Dr Mapp said.

"Violent criminals should know that they are facing longer prison sentences and it is very clear that we will need more prisons to hold them.

"The Northland prison programme is already well advanced and meets a clear need, both for the safety of the community and ensuring violent criminals are kept away from society.

"Rehabilitation of prisoners is also best advanced when prisoners can maintain contact with their families, and this requires a spread of prisons around the country. Otherwise, families have to travel great distances to see inmates, which is not an option for many.

"There is a clear need for the new prisons, particularly Northland Prison, and the Minister should get on with the job and build it, instead of pandering to his liberal prejudices, and putting society as a whole, and prisoner rehabilitation, at risk," Dr Mapp said.

ENDS

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