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Broken Prison Rules? Who Cares?

Broken Prison Rules? Who Cares?

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today asked how criminals could possibly take the law seriously, when the Prison Service itself cannot even bring itself to enforce the law of the land.

"The manager of South Island prisons told the nation on TV3 that he will not pursue a prison guard who admitted providing sex to an inmate up to four times a week - because he focuses on prevention, rather than punishment after the fact," Mr Franks said.

"When does he think punishment should apply, and to whom? If he focuses on prevention, not punishment, how does he sleep? His reason for being, and the entire prison system - indeed, our justice philosophy - is about punishing offenders for offences they've committed. No free society can work on a theory that punishments are for what you might do, rather than what you have done.

"This particular manager merely reflects loony Government ideology about crime - which says we can't and won't hold people accountable. It sees offenders as victims of everyone else's failure to stop them committing crime because they can't stop themselves.

"The prison manager refused to hear 20/20's evidence that the officer had confessed. Was he afraid to hear it because the Prison Service has already reached the mad, but logical, conclusion to the Government's victim ideology - that punishment is forbidden for offending against the rules, and is reserved only for the supervisors who fail to stop their staff committing the offences.

"We've already reached that kind of insanity with OSH liabilities on employers of people who don't obey safety rules, but it has a dire new meaning when the victim ideology is policy in the heart of the justice system.

"Prison is about punishment and ensuring there is a price for crime - so people know in advance it won't pay, even if it's easy to commit. Our freedoms depend on respecting people as rational choosers. They weigh the costs against the benefits. There can be no freedom or security under a system which tells people who are tempted to break the law, that they won't be accountable, it is not their fault; if there were no police standing there to stop them.

"The Prison Service last night told all officers that if they break the rules, the worst they can expect is to lose their job - as long as they jump before they're pushed. The penalties for offending against prison regulations have been rendered meaningless," Mr Franks said.

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