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Parole System Should Go

ACT MP Stephen Franks has launched a new attack on New Zealand’s deplorable parole and early release system.

Claiming the system is a massive scandal that needs intense overhaul and scrutiny, Franks says that probably on average, every six weeks a New Zealander is murdered by an offender on early release.

“If parole is not completely reformed it should be abolished.

“The system we rely on to protect us from the violence of hardened criminals provides a fast track back into the community.

“Prisoners on parole and early release commit so many crimes that Corrections Minister Matt Robson does not have a record of offending on parole, on the grounds that it would take too much time, and be too expensive.

“We have, on the one hand, demands that judges give longer and harsher sentences. On the other we literally play dice with the inevitable as criminals are released early.

“New Zealanders are right to believe that larger sentences prevent hardened criminals from doing their evil in the community. A 30 per cent reduction in US crime figures shows the do-gooders are wrong to say punishment doesn’t work.

“Even the so called safeguards against premature early release don’t work. A worried prison officer has to prove that the prisoner is likely to commit a particular offence. Clearly, in a system that is clogged down by procedural benefits for criminals, it is nonsense to have to prove a threat to society to prevent early release.

“If parole is to continue the onus should be to prove that an offence is unlikely.

“The Truth in Sentencing Bill was a simple way to restore the protection intended by court sentences, for both families and the victims. Yet both Matt Robson and Justice Minister, Phil Goff, scoffed at the Bill before their apparent conversion on Morning Report yesterday.

“All New Zealanders should hope that the Ministers sudden change of heart lasts after the present uproar subsides.

“The cost of the current nonsense can be measured in the battered lives and homes of the victims. It can not be allowed to continue,” 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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