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Robson on collision course

Corrections Minister Matt Robson is on a collision course with Judges, Police and Cabinet colleague Phil Goff, by refusing to ensure there is adequate prison capacity, said ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

Mr Franks was commenting on figures released by Chief District Court Judge Ron Young in Hamilton yesterday. They showed big increases in the length of sentences, in all categories of crime, for the ten years ended 1998.

“Matt Robson will be replaced or change portfolios. But he could leave behind overcrowding and frustration for Police and Judges. The Minister's own Department estimates that by 2010 there will be almost three thousand more prisoners in the average daily muster.

“Communities around New Zealand have demanded longer sentences and judges have been listening. Longer sentences tell criminals that crime doesn’t pay and protects the community while criminals are locked up.

“These efforts will fail if there is no room in jails to hold the criminals. Matt Robson's neglect of duty will see hardened criminals being released earlier and earlier to juggle the increased numbers.

“92% of New Zealanders voted for tougher sentencing to keep criminals off the streets. They should not get a Minister of Corrections who puts his own elitist ideology ahead of their safety,” said Stephen Franks.

ENDS

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