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Robson Allows Probation Unrest To Create Injustice

1 July 2001

Robson Allows Probation Service Unrest To Create Injustice

Corrections Minister Matt Robson should resign his portfolio if he continues to allow injustices to occur as a result of industrial action in the Probation Service, National's Justice spokesman Wayne Mapp said today.

"Already we are seeing people on Periodic Detention get away scot free because there is no-one to supervise them. They are being told they won't have to make up any work-days they miss because of the industrial action.

"That is hardly justice! Those people committed offences against society, and were duly sentenced. Mr Robson is allowing industrial action to effectively reduce the sentences handed down by Judges. He is also allowing an inequity to be created, as some of those sentenced to PD get away with a lighter sentence than others would under normal circumstances.

"People currently sentenced to PD are being handed a virtual 'get out of jail free card' by the Minister. That is absurd. It would be like people who were fined for an offence being let off without paying if the people who collected the fines went on strike!

"Mr Robson must ensure that the PD for those offenders is deferred until people are in place to supervise them. Alternately he should consider drafting others in to supervise Periodic Detention - much the same as when Army personnel were called in during industrial action by prison officers.

"At the other extreme Mr Robson has revealed that people on parole may be forced back into prison by the current industrial action. This is a most bizarre situation. At one end of the scale you have people escaping punishment because of the strike. At the other end of the scale you have people who have earned the right to parole receiving additional punishment as a result of the strike.

"If Mr Robson cannot sort this absurd situation out then he is clearly unfit to hold a portfolio in the justice area. The role of a Minister is to preserve justice, not create injustice," Dr Mapp said.


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