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Prisoner compo Act allows more claims

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

30 January 2006

Prisoner compo Act allows more claims

Labour's decision to allow prisoners to sue the taxpayer for compensation for alleged ill-treatment is coming home to roost with reports that more than $5 million in lawsuits are in the pipeline, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

Figures issued under the Official Information Act show the Corrections Department received $1 million in new claims against it last year, taking the total of outstanding claims past $5 million, and that nearly $400,000 of taxpayers' money was spent defending claims from inmates and staff.

"National repeatedly warned the Government that this would happen.

"This bill still allows prisoners to pocket the cash in certain circumstances, on top of the fact that any compensation awarded goes to a trust fund which victims have to apply for. It is an insult to crime victims that inmates persist in taking legal action at all.

"Any compensation awarded should go directly to victims. That's what National wanted. Prisoners have a right to justice but not to monetary compensation.

"On top of that, these claims are costing the taxpayer a lot of money to defend.

"This Act has been a disaster from beginning to end," says Mr Power.

ENDS

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