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Corrections fess up - Minister must do the same

Simon Power MP
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

07 May 2006

Corrections fess up - Minister must do the same

"The only thing that would surprise the public about the Department of Corrections now is if they got something right," says National law and order spokesman Simon Power, responding to the latest debacle to hit the troubled department.

"If the Department of Corrections is involved, it's a disaster waiting to happen."

Mr Power is commenting on revelations today that Corrections chief executive Barry Matthews, admitted the department's national office:

1. Has no idea how many prisoners it has allowed out to work in the past three years;
2. Has no idea of the convictions of the prisoners who have been allowed out;
3. Has no idea which prison the prisoners are released to work from;
4. That the information is kept on prisoner files at prisons, but the department had ‘no national records on this data’.

“When convicted paedophiles are working where they may be in contact with the children of unknowing workmates - we have a serious and systemic problem.”

In another example cited today, a second inmate was given a department van so he could drive himself to work when released during the day.

“Yes, we should help inmates re-integrate, but not at the expense of public safety,” says Mr Power who is calling for a broad select committee inquiry into Corrections.

“The appalling failures in this department need to be addressed. It is developing a reputation for screw-ups and if the Minister can’t fix it, other MPs will have to sort it out,” says Mr Power.

Ends

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