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Money, not safety, at heart of prisons plan

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

25 May 2006

Money, not safety, at heart of prisons plan

Saving money rather than preserving public safety is at the heart of a Government plan to allow remand prisoners to be released on electronic monitoring, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

Last week’s Budget said the police will spend $5 million this year trialling electronic monitoring for remand prisoners who would otherwise be held in jail.

“The Budget announcement followed the leaking of a Corrections Department memo, written by a prison manager, which proposed such a plan,” says Mr Power.

The memo said to 'significantly alleviate operational costs and the constant media attention' ... 'there is no real reason why electronic surveillance could not be considered as an option for those remandees who are unlikely to receive a custodial sentence'.

"The memo did not mention public safety once, rather it concentrated on saving money and avoiding negative publicity associated with overcrowded prisons.

“But judges can already remand people either in custody or on bail, so why do they need a further option?

“This is clearly part of Damien O'Connor's catch-and-release policy to deal with the rising prison population, except now he's making it the problem of the police.

“New Zealanders should be concerned at any proposal that has been hatched to save political embarrassment rather than to protect them.”

ENDS

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