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Budget 2004: Prisons funding and baseline boost

Hon Paul Swain
Minister of Corrections

New prisons funding and baseline boost

Budget 2004 commits further funding for four urgently needed prisons, Corrections Minister Paul Swain announced today.

The estimated capital cost of the new facilities is approximately $610 million. Around $180 million, on top of the $225 million already allocated, has been approved in this year's budget for draw down over the next three years.

"Ministry of Justice forecasts show a significant increase in inmate numbers over coming years - largely driven by tougher and longer sentences - and we must respond to this," Paul Swain said. "The new prisons will add around 1500 beds to our capacity and are expected to be completed between 2005 and 2008.

"An additional $30 million operating funding for 2004-05, rising to $40 million a year from 2006-07, will boost Corrections' baseline capability. This funding will target areas such as staff training, property maintenance and prison health services."

Budget 2004 has approved an increase of $450,000 per annum to the New Zealand Prisoners' Aid and Rehabilitation Society to help it continue their valuable work in the area of reintegration.

"Helping inmates successfully return to community life is a key part of offender management. Some of this funding will go to the New Zealand Prisoners' Aid and Rehabilitation Society and other volunteer organisations to help them continue their valuable work.

The package also provides for three more drug detection dog teams to the five already in operation, to stamp out the supply of drugs into, and within, prisons.

"I am also pleased to confirm an extra $1.1 million operating funding in the current financial year and in 2004-5 for the support services Corrections provides to the New Zealand Parole Board. The Parole Act has seen hearings increase from 5500 a year to 8000," Mr Swain said.

ENDS

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