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ACT Supports Major Corrections Policy Reversal

Corrections Minister, Matt Robson, signalled a major coalition policy reversal on Morning Report this morning, when he revealed that both he, and Justice Minister Phil Goff, favoured reform of a 1990 law that automatically cuts all prison sentences by a third, said ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

“Only four weeks ago Mr Robson and Mr Goff were both scoffing as they tossed out ACT’s Truth In Sentencing Bill. They said ACT’s minimum sentence served of at least 80% would cost variously ‘$800 million’ or ‘a billion dollars’.

“Both Ministers identified cost as the key issue against Truth in Sentencing.

“The prisons are already full and Mr Robson has vowed not to add extra prison capacity. Neither Minister has even tried to estimate the costs of crime to measure against the costs of prison, let alone the heartbreak and fear caused by soft headed releases.

“All New Zealanders hope that the Ministers sudden change of heart lasts after the present uproar subsides. But if the Kylie Jones case has caused a change of heart, the Jones and Stenbeck families’ ‘VOICE’ campaign is helping already.

“All the hard questions in criminal justice have been referred to the mysterious ‘sentencing review’ being conducted by officials. Weak ministers and closed minded officials are responsible for the scandalous state we have reached, yet they are responsible for running this review.

“There must be a public enquiry into the parole and release systems. There is enough in the Corrections Department’s own reviews to show the need for a full outside investigation,” 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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