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Crime Stats Show Parole Failure

Crime Stats Show Parole Failure

Thursday 14 Aug 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

This year, more than 5,700 of the 46,000 New Zealanders who were robbed, bashed, raped or murdered would have been safe if the Government had kept violent crime rates at the level they were when Labour first took office, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"The Government promised to crack down on violent crime, and its vaunted Sentencing and Parole Acts have now been operating since before the last election. A 14.7 percent increase in violent crime during Justice Minister Phil Goff's watch shows what criminals think of his `get tough' policy," Mr Franks said.

"Criminals know that the increased sentences are only for a few headline crimes. Meanwhile, all violent offenders benefit from the new eligibility for parole after only one third of their sentence, instead of the previous two thirds.

"The Government naturally trumpets improved clearance rates, but they depend on people's willingness to report crime, and police charging practices. What no one will tell us is how much of this crime is committed by criminals on parole. Even Police Minister George Hawkins doesn't know, because they don't collect the statistics. Mr Hawkins doesn't want to know because, if he did, he would have to announce and defend it.

"No amount of Ministerial spin about clearance rates will disguise the fact that people want to see the number of offences drop far more than they care about clearance rates.

"There are simple and proven methods of doing that. The simplest would be to end parole, and keep the people who do most of the offending locked up serving the sentences the courts have given them, Mr Franks said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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