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Open door prison policy not the answer to crime

Simon Power MP National Party Law & Order Spokesman

14 August 2006

Open door prison policy not the answer to crime

"The looming announcement of changes to the criminal justice system are motivated by embarrassment at the high number of prison inmates rather than any serious attempt to cut crime," says National Party Law & Order spokesman Simon Power.

"Shifting offenders from prison onto home detention and electronic monitoring makes absolutely no difference to the number of crimes being committed. "It's a bit like moving people from the dole to the sickness benefit and claiming that the number of people looking for work has fallen.

"This obsession with prisoner numbers is driven by the embarrassing $490 million blow-out in prison construction, as well as the fact that presiding over an imprisonment rate second only to the US is not a good look for a Prime Minister grooming herself for higher international honours.

"The growth in prisoner numbers under Labour has been not been driven by putting the worst criminals away for longer, but by putting more offenders away for shorter sentences."

A Corrections Department report states that the number of inmates sentenced to six months or less has increased 'to a striking degree'.

"Let's not forget, it is also this Labour Government which has run down rehabilitation programmes, particularly those focused on substance abuse, and denies them to offenders serving short sentences.

"The ultimate irony is that these new initiatives have been titled 'Effective Interventions', because they know that their efforts after seven years have been totally ineffective."

The rate of violent crime increased by 7% last year, the biggest increase since 2000.
"After all of the hard work by previous ministers such as Phil Goff and Paul Swain to try to unsuccessfully convince the public that Labour was serious about crime, it looks as if the soft left have reasserted control in the form of Ministers Burton and O'Connor.

"I wonder what the victims of crime will think when they think those who have offended against them have been put away, only to bump into them again down at the corner dairy."

ENDS

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