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Labour buckles to pressure on early release scheme

Labour buckles to pressure on early release scheme

National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall, says the Government has yielded to National Party pressure and tightened the prison early Christmas release policy.

"This follows last year's debacle where an Invercargill man was released after serving less than two hours of a one-month prison sentence."

Inmates serving less than six-month terms will no longer qualify for Christmas release. Only those serving longer sentences, whose terms expire on or around Christmas, can qualify for release a few days early.

"Labour Ministers at first attempted to justify the Invercargill debacle, but have now seen the error of their ways," says Mr Ryall.

"Offenders need to know that if they do the crime, they will do the time - not get an early Christmas present courtesy of the prison system.

"Short-term inmates should not be having a happy Christmas while their victims are still suffering from their crime," he says.

"While it may be compassionate to release longer-term inmates a few days early for Christmas, we should remember that most of them will be back. Sixty per cent of all prisoners have been in prison before. Almost half will be back in jail within two years.

"This Government runs a prison system focused on prisoners' rights rather than on victims' rights. National will change that," says Mr Ryall.

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