Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Bill
Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Bill: First Reading of the Bill 16 December 2004
“The introduction of the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Bill has come about because of the less than professional treatment of inmates by some Corrections Department staff, who have treated them in ways which act against their basic human rights” said Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party.
“What concerns me about this legislation is that instead of addressing violence and abuse in the Corrections system, it seeks to repunish inmates who have already been sentenced” said Mrs Turia today.
“While I have absolute empathy with the victims of criminal offending, I firmly believe that from the moment they are sentenced, offenders begin paying for the offence”.
“We already have seen situations where offenders have been able to pay compensation, and in reward, they have either received reduced sentences or have received a community-based sentence”.
“This legislation is basically saying…if you offend and you are poor, you go to prison (usually for a considerable time) and then, it is open slather. The system can punish you further by abusing you, committing violent acts against you. Should you prove that you have been offended against, well, we will take your compensation off you, because you still deserve to be punished for your original crime”.
“I do not condone acts of violence in any form, but I totally reject the right of the prison system and those who work there, to dehumanise inmates so that they no longer want to contribute constructively to society. They do the crime, they do the time. That is the punishment”.