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Clean Slate bill - so much for a safe society

Wayne Mapp National Justice Spokesperson

11 December 2001

Clean Slate bill - so much for a safe society

The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Bill introduced to Parliament last night will see too many repeat offenders slip through as if they were never convicted, says National's Justice spokesperson Wayne Mapp.

National will be opposing the Bill which allows people with convictions not resulting in a custodial sentence to effectively have their criminal records sealed after a 10-year period without further convictions.

"What's to stop a burglar with multiple convictions, but who has not been in prison, from having their slate wiped clean? And this, despite the fact that less than 15 percent of burglaries are solved.

"The reality is that serial burglars who have learnt their criminal trade will get their record wiped. All this does is reward the serial burglar.

"The same applies to the multiple drink-driver. If they don't get a custodial sentence, they will end up getting their slate wiped clean.

"This Bill does nothing to reassure the public that the Government is committed to a safe society. No one can feel confident that all safeguards are in place.

Dr Mapp says the Bill also flies in the face of an employer's right to know the criminal background of all prospective employees.

"Why shouldn't employers know about the criminal records of people they are interviewing and then make their own decision on whether to employ them? It's commonsense to have all the knowledge before making this sort of decision.

"The reality is that employers make rational decisions and people with minor records are often readily employed," said Dr Mapp.

Ends


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