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Another Parole Murder

Tuesday 12 Mar 2002

William Holtz murdered Mr Prasad while on parole. Holtz was paroled at half his sentence in April 2000 for an earlier stabbing. He had already been sentenced twice for attacks on Indian shopkeepers. Mr Prasad would be alive today if there was truth in sentencing. He would probably be alive if the authorities granting parole paid more than lip service to any of the purposes of sentencing, other than just rehabilitation, says ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

"Successive Government ministers and officials have allowed a disgraceful parole system to continue knowing that it served no purpose other than to get around court imposed sentences.

"Rehabilitation is a pipe dream. We would all love to think it works. But the evidence, or lack of it, means that those in charge of penal policy making decisions forgive for the rest of us on the basis of discredited theories that if we are nice to criminals they will be nice back.

"We all know that we pay for this in blood but we don't know how much because the Government will not answer questions about crimes committed by criminals in parole or early release.

"Justice Minister Phil Goff made his name in opposition threatening to get tough on bail crimes. National gave him plenty of ammunition with accurate figures. He and Corrections Minister Matt Robson have failed to provide any figures in the nearly three years since they were elected, despite numerous requests.

"They won't get away with this forever, but how many more New Zealanders will have to die before it changes?" Stephen Franks said.


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