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Can O’Connor’s prisons get any worse?

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

3 November 2005

Can O’Connor’s prisons get any worse?

National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power, says the Corrections Department is becoming a sick joke and Minister Damien O’Connor must move to sort it out.

He is commenting after a prisoner being held in the Wellington court cells because of overcrowding at Rimutaka Prison was caught with contraband – believed to be methamphetamine and cash.

“I ask the Minister again – what is going on in our prisons?

“He needs to tell us what this guy was doing with money and drugs in a court cell. How did he get it in without it being detected? Why did he have it? Was he dealing it, or was he shuffling it around in order to avoid it being discovered in prison searches?

“The list of embarrassments goes on for this Minister.

“Last month there were seven escapes, two guards assaulted, and prisoners held in vans on public streets and showering in a rugby club, because of overcrowding.

“This week it was revealed that ‘a small design fault’ at state-of-the-art Ngawha Prison was enabling prisoners to run around in the middle of the night making themselves cups of coffee in the staffroom. And then a Parole Board member was assaulted during a hearing.

“If this wasn’t all so serious it would read like a script from Hogan’s Heroes,” Mr Power says.

“This Minister really must get a grip of his portfolio and assure the public that the people in our prisons really are kept under lock and key.”

ENDS

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