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Sex Lepers Must Go Free

Sex Lepers Must Go Free

Thursday 5 Aug 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today drew attention to the uproar surrounding the release of yet another sex offender, this time to scare parents of children at Tauranga's Selwyn Ridge School - or wherever he ends up.

"Child sex offenders are the modern lepers. But, in a civilised justice system, they must eventually be released - even under ACT policy, which would extend sentences and abolish parole, Mr Franks said.

"The community uproar that now accompanies each release is a natural, but not inevitable, development. It shows the complete community mistrust of the criminal justice establishment.

"The establishment's `trust us' attitude - with privacy and secrecy interests put ahead of open justice - has had the predictable effect: no one believes that the Government will properly warn communities, or back them up when they want to take simple precautions like having everyone keep a close eye on a former offender.

"No one believes that the Government's counsellors, carers and supervisors will genuinely put the interests of prospective victims ahead of the `criminogenic needs' of these offenders.

"And, so, we're reaping the reward. The community is making these people into lepers because it is not taken into State's confidence. Measures supposed to be in the interests of offenders who've served their sentences have rebounded to make their lives much worse.

"It's time to be tough, and open, in the interests of everyone," Mr Franks said.


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