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Softer laws driving down prison projection

Softer laws driving down prison projection

Softer sentencing and parole laws have caused the Government to cut its projected prison rates, says National's Law and Order spokesperson Tony Ryall.

"The Government is trying to spin that the prison population will increase by 21% from 2003 to 2010, according to Ministry of Justice figures. However Department of Corrections figures show the original projection was for an increase of over 27%.*

"The true story here is that the Government has actually cut its projected prison population.

"That is because the Government has cut the minimum period of time criminals must serve before they can get parole.

"In New Zealand today we have the shameful situation where a rapist sentenced to nine years can get parole after only three years.

"We also have Phil Goff's Sentencing Act which requires judges to consider imprisonment as a last resort.

"The release of these figures has more to do with the Sensible Sentencing Trust's anti-parole campaign, to be launched this week, that it does with providing accurate information," said Mr Ryall.

*Department of Corrections website estimates a 3.5% increase in the prison population for the next ten years, which works out to a 27.2% increase between 2003 and 2010.

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