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Ministers' Responsibility For Murder Epidemic

Will Ministers Have To Take Responsibility For Murder Epidemic?

Thursday 31st Aug 2000 Stephen Franks Media Release -- Justice

The Ministers of Justice and Corrections must answer if any of the last three days’ murderers were out on bail or parole, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks stated today.

“They let them out and they don’t even keep figures to tell us what crimes criminals commit while they are prematurely free.

“Both Ministers have sneered at ACT’s Truth In Sentencing Bill. Both say it would be too expensive to make criminals serve the sentences the Judges hand down. Yet Mr Goff blames the Judges for feeble sentencing.

“Neither Minister will even estimate the costs of crime, including things people have to do to try to protect themselves, their homes and businesses.

“Sentencing can’t respond to ordinary New Zealanders common sense, when the Minister of Corrections won’t provide the prison space.

“I have been trying to get the figures for arrest and offences on parole for months. The Minister for Corrections says his ministry doesn’t keep such information, without any suggestion that he is trying to get it or even that he thinks it could be relevant. Crime committed on parole was one of the first targets of successful reformers in the United States.

“How can the public work out why vicious crime is becoming ever more threatening in New Zealand while in the US it is going down steeply, if we don’t have the statistics the US has used to get on top of crime?

“Kylie Jones was killed by a man on parole. The media knew that as soon as they knew who was arrested. But New Zealanders can’t even find out how often during their sentences murderers, rapists, robbers and burglars kill or rape again for their previous crimes.

“The causes of crime are not mysterious. When crime does pay, and punishments don’t mean what they say, we should not be baffled by people who are contemptuous of the law,” said Stephen Franks.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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