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Power queries 'musical prisoners'

Simon Power National Party Law and Order Spokesman

27 March 2006

Power queries 'musical prisoners'

National's Law and Order spokesman, Simon Power, says Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor must assure New Zealanders that his game of 'musical prisoners' does not pose a threat to public safety.

He is commenting on the release today of figures showing the Corrections Department is spending more than $100,000 per month on commercial travel, shuffling dangerous prisoners from prison to prison.

"The department has spent more on domestic airfares for prisoners in the past six months than it has previously spent in entire years," says Mr Power.

"These inmates are behind bars because they pose a threat to public safety. To turn around now and say it's okay to have them on public flights makes a mockery of their incarceration and poses considerable threat.

"What makes the situation even more curious is the department's denial of owning a $400,000 33-seat prisoner transport bus. Mr O'Connor needs to find out if his department does in fact own such a bus and ask some serious questions about why it's not in use.

"With inmate numbers forecast to continue to balloon, Mr O'Connor needs to make some quick decisions about what's he's going to do with them.

"Flying criminals around the country, Con Air style, until a prison bed becomes available should not be an option," says Mr Power.

ENDS

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