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Home Detention Failures Show Lack Of Honesty

Media Release

12 September 2005

Home Detention Failures Show Lack Of Honesty

New Zealand First law and order spokesperson Ron Mark says that a coroner’s report into the death from a drug overdose of former gang member Maunu Nicholson highlights the glaring failures of the home detention system, and vindicates New Zealand First’s questioning about the level of supervision in this and other home detention cases.

“The report says that not only was there ‘repeated non-compliance’ Nicholson was not at work on 59 of the 101 occasions when they went to check on him, and on 31 days he could not be found at all,” said Mr Mark.

“Yet the Minister, in a letter dated 20 November 2003, stated: ‘The home detention sentence was well managed. The case notes are complete and up to date…[Nicholson] received one warning for leaving work …early on one occasion. Apart from that he was never absent from his residence without the permission of his probation officer.’

“The letter further stated, ‘the sentence was well managed according to Departmental procedures.’

“The Minister was either deliberately misleading or he was seriously misinformed by his department. Either way it is an indication of the total lack of honesty and transparency surrounding the repeated failures of home detention,” said Mr Mark.

“The government continues to use home detention for offenders with violent or sexual convictions, with gang and drug connections while totally oblivious to the inadequacy of the supervision, and that places the public at risk.

“New Zealand First will tighten up the home detention rules and ensure that those with the responsibility to supervise the systems start doing the job they are paid to do,” concluded Mr Mark.

ENDS

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