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Prisoner work strategy a load of waffle

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

11 May 2006

Prisoner work strategy a load of waffle

The Corrections Department's Prisoner Employment Strategy released today is a load of waffle, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

"After seven years of running down prisoner employment schemes this is all that could be produced."

Mr Power said that under Labour:

· The number of inmates on work schemes has plummeted to one in five.
· The work scheme budget has been cut from $46 million to $30 million.
· Prisoners work an average 12.9 hours a week compared with 18.1 in 2002.
* The number of hours of work by prisoners on Corrections Inmate Employment has dropped 15% since 2002. * The hours of employment in prison market gardens has been cut by 75%. * The average number of prisoners employed in gardens has been cut to 30. * Up to 100 prisoners refuse to take part in any employment activity.

"Damien O'Connor has put out this strategy because he is clearly embarrassed by the pathetic number of prisoners on work schemes.

"He is trying to address a problem of his Government's own making, and we will be watching very carefully to see that the waffle of this strategy turns into concrete results for inmates and for their constructive return to society.

"It is really important that any employment for inmates outside of prisons is securely and properly managed.

"The safety of the public is the main priority, and I would be very concerned if we were to see a repeat of an inmate driving a Corrections vehicle unsupervised to and from work, and a work scheme group being taken to the beach for the afternoon.

"The public simply will not put up with that sort of carry-on".

ENDS

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