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Corrections inquiry pathetic

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

24 May 2006

Corrections inquiry pathetic

The Corrections Department needs a full and wide-ranging inquiry into its operations, not one that looks at just its head office, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

"This review is pathetic, considering what is happening right through this department.

"They are in crisis and all they can come up with is some half-baked review 'to ensure an effective Head Office function'.

"What about the very serious problems the public has a right to expect are fixed?

* The $490 million constructions budget blowout and design faults.

* Unauthorised visits by inmates to the beach.

* The seemingly easy availability of contraband of all types, including cell phones, drugs, weapons and R-rated movies.

* Overcrowding, including the housing of prisoners in vans and in police and court cells, and predictions of continuing problems through to 2011.

* The hugely expensive and dangerous practice of flying prisoners around the country on public flights.

* Escapes from Rimutaka and Christchurch, and security implications for other prisons.

* Low staff morale, including a vote of 'no confidence' in management.

* Recruitment problems, and a suggestion that criminals be hired as guards.

* Operational problems, including issues of non-compliance with parole.

* Rehabilitation courses that increase re-offending.

"And they are doing it with consultants! Corrections have enough consultants. They have just spent $31million on them.

"We urgently need a review of Corrections from top to bottom, and the only way to do that is by way of the process that is already in place - Parliament's select committee.

"This announcement is nothing more than a poorly disguised attempt to deflect the public's attention away from the need for a full review. This is the easy way out."

ENDS


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