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Burglars wife-bashers shoplifters off scot-free

Burglars, wife-bashers and shoplifters get off scot-free

The Government has revealed a quarter of all offenders who do not turn up for their community work sentences get convicted and discharged with no additional penalty. In fact, many get their sentences wiped altogether, says National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"Official figures also show half of the people sentenced for failing to turn up for community work actually get more community work as punishment.

Mr Ryall says offenders don't show up now, so what's the point of giving them more hours?

"Courts Minister Rick Barker admitted, in answer to parliamentary questions, that less than one in ten of the most habitual shirkers end up in prison.

"This is a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket that isn't even hitting the wrist!

"Burglars, wife-beaters and shoplifters sentenced to community work are all thumbing their noses at the justice system and their victims. It is a sick joke.

"Labour promoted community work as a more effective form of periodic detention. It has proven an absolute failure, with many PD centres reporting only a third of offenders who should turn up actually do.

"These offenders know that there is virtually no firm penalty for not doing their sentence.

"Last year a 26 year old beneficiary charged with possession of a cannabis pipe, assault, theft (five charges), and breach of community work was ordered to pay $57 reparation and $100 costs, and as a bonus got her community work hours wiped.

"And this is just one example from hundreds of community work absconders escaping scot-free.

"Judge Tony Adeane has gone so far as to say that in some parts of the country 'there appears to be an on-going tolerance' towards breached community work sentences.

"Urgent changes are needed to give Corrections staff the power to require a minimum number of community work hours per week are done, and to impose immediate penalties as most community work breaches take months to get to court," said Mr Ryall.

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