Wednesday 2 Feb 2005
Deborah Coddington - Press Releases - Crime & Justice
ACT Associate Justice spokesman Deborah Coddington expressed outrage today that from 1999 to 2003 between 30-40 percent of criminals receiving prison sentences were on some sort of benefit when they committed their crimes.
The MP was responding to information supplied by the Department of Correction's census of prison inmates, which details the income source of inmates prior to being sentenced.
"No data is kept on the income status of violent offenders, but in today's `soft' culture, we can assume that the majority of those sent to prison committed some sort of violent crime," Miss Coddington said.
"We could also assume many of them are repeat offenders, paid by the taxpayer to continue terrorising society.
"If the figures are broken down, 1,262 of these criminals were so sick they had to live on a sickness benefit. But they weren't too sick to go out and commit a serious crime.
"In the same period 624 solo parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit went out and committed a serious crime. Weren't we paying these parents to look after their children?
"Taxpayers spend roughly 18 times more on welfare than on police. The ultimate insult to the victims of crime is that they are often the ones funding their assailants' lifestyles.
"It's time the Labour Government stopped talking about getting tough on crime and welfare, and actually did something about it," Miss Coddington said.