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Where's prison programme accountability?

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Alexander: Where's prison programme accountability?

The Government is undermining prison employment rehabilitation - "the best means of stopping prisoners from returning to jail" - while at the same time throwing money at re-integrative services that don't work, United Future law and order spokesman Marc Alexander said today.

In tackling Corrections Minister Paul Swain at today's law and order select committee meeting, Mr Alexander revealed that inmate employment initiatives have fallen by 14 percent to $30.4 million at the same time reintegration services will cost taxpayers 9 percent more ($47.2 million) in the coming year.

"It makes no sense to undermine work in prison since it is probably our best hope of stopping criminals from reoffending.

"And does this reintegration work? Well, not only do 86 percent get reconvicted within five years, but one reintegration service, Pillars, has, as Mr Swain admitted, refused to publish an audit of its work, despite costing large sums of taxpayers' money for five and a half years.

"The Minister conceded that an audit had been done but described it as 'not good'. I think its time we let taxpayers who have funded this misadventure see where their money has been misspent! Let us assess it for ourselves.

"These are public funds and there needs to be public accountability," Mr Alexander said.

"I have been waiting for this audit for two years! Now we have proof that this Government's softly-softly 'let's talk it over' re-integrative approach simply doesn't't work and now they are trying to hide it," he said.


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