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Christmas Release Policy Success

Christmas Release Policy Success

Inmates released early over the Christmas period are less likely to re-offend, Acting Corrections Minister Margaret Wilson said today.

“The reimprisonment rate for those inmates released early over Christmas 2001 was about six percentage points less than the rate for all other inmates released between April 2000 and March 2001.”

Under the Christmas release policy, a prisoner due to be released between mid December and early January can be released from early December to allow them to access accommodation and other services that close over the Christmas break, said Ms Wilson.

“The reasoning behind this is that by releasing inmates slightly early we reduce some of the stresses which they would otherwise face, and by doing that we are helping reduce the rate of re-offending.”

“These figures support that reasoning. They show that for those inmates serving less than 12 months the reimprisonment rate in the year following their release is 6.6 percentage points less for those released under the Christmas release policy (26.4%, compared to 19.8%). The comparative figures for those serving 12 months or more were 20.7% and 14.5%, a 6.2 percentage point difference.

“Last Christmas there were several cases where offenders were released inappropriately. However the Department of Corrections is making sure that can’t happen again. With that change, along with this new evidence of the overall success of the Christmas release policy, I look forward to the Opposition’s support for the Christmas policy this year.”

Ms Wilson said the time lapse between releases and information on re-offending becoming available meant that figures for last Christmas would not be available until later this year.

A table with full figures is attached.

Reimprisonment Rate For 12 Months Following Release
Sentence Length Reimprisonments/All Releases All Releases % Reimprisonments/ Christmas Remissions 2001 2001 Christmas Releases %

Less than 12 months 909/3440 26.4 25/126 19.8
12 months or more 531/2565 20.7 11/76 14.5

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