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Alexander: Corrections In Chaos

Media Statement
For immediate release
Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Alexander: Corrections in chaos

Corrections Minister Paul Swain has masses to do with a department born of an era of comparatively low crime that is now ''under-resourced, under-managed and disconnected from all other branches of the criminal justice system'', United Future's Marc Alexander said today.

Under intense questioning from Mr Alexander while appearing before the law and order select committee at Parliament, Corrections chief executive Mark Byers admitted that:

* Rehabilitation programmes have yet to be properly assessed
* Breakouts have risen
* Unnatural deaths have increased
* Suicides have risen
* Inmates assaults have gone up in recent years
* That in the year to April 2003, there was a rise in re-conviction and re-imprisonments rates despite police claiming that there has been no overall increase in crime rates
* Prisons are having to deal with the failure of the mental health system

"And against that background, we have prison officers moonlighting, the shadow of the Goon Squad, the discredited Behaviour Modification Programme that is costing us millions in the courts through compensation claims and a swelling prison population," Mr Alexander said.

"Basically, we need to rebuild Corrections from the ground up so that it can cope with the realities of higher levels of crime," he said.


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