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Are Ex-Prisoners Becoming Unplacable?

How Many Taylors Before Ex-Prisoners Become Unplaceable?

Thursday 23 Sep 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice

The Taylor case shows again why people treat Labour's claims of `criminal justice' as a Tui advertisement, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Frank said today.

"When Corrections Minister Paul Swain passes law that makes the Parole Board release hardened offenders, he should ensure they have both the power and duty to impose conditions that will protect the offender's new neighbours," Mr Franks said.

"Why didn't the Board impose professional supervision terms? Why didn't it appoint someone to ensure sure Taylor's neighbours were warned to look out for him?

"The probation service should automatically let a thoroughly bad criminal's neighbours know that they should take precautions - which is in the offender's interests as well as the prospective new victims'. Taylor could take advantage of a trusting old neighbour because he knew that soft-in-the-head authorities would have regarded his privacy as more important than her safety.

"Corrections will find it harder and harder to place ex-prisoners. Labour will label the community unforgiving and vengeful. It will try to beef up secrecy in an attempt to gain acceptance for prisoners through deception - but it won't work.

"To gain the people's trust, the Government must trust them first. We can only expect communities to be genuinely compassionate when they again believe that the criminal justice system's main concern is interests of the innocent.

"And only when New Zealanders believe they will be informed of known risks, that prisoners will not be released before the end of their sentences - and that, when released, they will be under supervision - and that foreseeable potential victims will be warned, so they can take reasonable precautions, will the community feel it can risk being compassionate again, and be willing to give these people a fresh chance.

"We were such a people only a generation ago. When the parole scam has ended, and justice is again transparent - without absurd privacy laws protecting the reputations of those who should have none - we can be again," Mr Franks said.


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