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Sex in prisons concept "highly offensive"

24 May 2000

Sex in prisons concept "highly offensive"

The Government's plans to condone sex in prisons are odious and potentially very harmful to society says National leader Jenny Shipley.

"The public, and especially the victims of crime, have an absolute right to expect that justice will be done and will be seen to be done," Mrs Shipley says.

"It is liberal claptrap in the extreme to expect those victims - whose lives have in many cases been shattered - to accept their attackers being given the rights and privileges normally reserved for law abiding citizens.

"Matt Robson talks of these rights being available to all prisoners. He does not seem to realise that these are people with, in many cases, no regard for the law or society. Rapists, people who murder and maim and destroy lives.

"Those inmates have by their conscious actions forfeited many of their basic rights - to liberty, to vote, to free-association. Yet Matt Robson insists they deserve a right to regular sex?

"This Government's muddled thinking on prisons will be highly offensive to the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who voted for tougher penalties. The function of prisons is to rehabilitate and to punish - they're not designed to be some sort of state-funded Playboy Mansion.

"Of even greater concern is the idea of locking children between the ages of 3 and 5 in prison with their mothers.

"What guarantee can this Government give of those children's safety? And what about the long-term effects of being raised in a prison environment. Our jails must be places people don't want to end up - not places they fondly remember from their pre-school years.

"As an MP with a women's prison in my electorate I can vouchsafe the fact that these are not fit places for children to spend their formative years.


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