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ACT Parole Offenders Bill To Go Before Parliament

A Bill which would restore honesty to the law’s descriptions of the early release of prisoners from their sentences is to be put to Parliament by ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

The Criminal Justice (Parole Offenders) Amendment Bill strengthens the provisions for dealing with offences committed by parolees released from prison on trust.

“Offences by parolees are a breach of the trust that society has placed in them,” Mr Franks said. “Failing to deter and punish parole offences says to criminals and their victims that New Zealand is not serious about crime and punishment. This bill would change the law to indicate to criminals and New Zealanders that Parliament is determined to protect people from crime.”

The parole period is intended to provide supervised reintegration into the community. The idea that the risk of being recalled to complete the sentence helps establish a pattern of being law-abiding outside after supervision expires.

“But the current parole system has simply not come close to achieving this,” Mr Franks said.

The main terms in the Bill, which has drawn the ballot to go in as a member’s Bill include:

 Recall to finish sentences would apply to all those convicted on parole of offences liable to more than three months imprisonment.

 Any new sentences arising from such convictions must be served cumulatively rather than concurrently.

 Breaching parole by offending will be an aggravating factor in sentencing. This should reflect the parolees’ contempt for the law shown by the breach.

 Offending while on home-detention will attract the same consequences, to help ensure that judges and criminals stop seeing it as a spurious punishment.

“New Zealanders have had enough of liberal excuses for letting criminals out early to commit sickening crimes,” Mr Franks said.

“The Government talked for months about stopping offending on bail. Bail offences are less risk than offending during early release. So I look forward to wide support for this long overdue reform.”

ENDS

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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