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Backpackers' Are Not Prison Release Hostels

Backpackers' Are Not Prison Release Hostels

Friday 25 Jun 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Corrections Spokesman Stephen Franks today called on Corrections Minister Paul Swain to undertake that the Government would never again place released prisoners in backpackers' hostels, without the fully informed agreement of hostel management.

"They owe it to every unsuspecting backpacker. They owe it to the tourist industry. Trust is essential in a backpackers' hostel. How does sharing a bunkroom and bathroom with hardened thieves, robbers and thugs fit with our safe clean green tourist advertising?" Mr Franks said.

"A backpackers is obliged to meet myriad safety rules: fire, ventilation, lighting, hygiene, etc. They cover risks that are remote in any event. Then Labour dumps criminals into that environment. Doing that without warning should be criminal itself.

"Crimes against other residents are inevitable. Nearly eight of 10 released prisoners under 20 years-old are reconvicted within two years, seven out of 10 burglars and more than five out of 10 who've been in prison for violence. People who've been in prison for short sentences present the greatest risks, with six out of 10 being re-convicted within two years.

"Ex-prisoners are not just unfortunates who should be allowed a second chance. They've all had multiple second chances. The average prisoner has had nine convictions before the conviction that sends them to prison.

"This Government is happy to see employers go broke for failing to protect employees against harassment, even when they did not know about it. It will tie up tens of thousands of commuters while police try to work out who caused a motorway accident. It sets OSH inspectors on endless enquiries into accidents. Yet, here, it secretly sets up young people with the near certainty of being stolen from or bashed. These are not accidents waiting to happen - these are statistical certainties.

"Mr Swain and Mr Goff should personally promise that this will never happen again," Mr Franks said.

ENDS


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