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Green Party welcome justice package

15 August 2006

Green Party welcomes end to 'boring prisoners to death'

The Green Party is welcoming the justice package announced today by the Government, but is expressing some reservations about possible 'net-widening' effects.

"The Greens have been saying for years that we have to think beyond tougher sentences," Green Party Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"Early intervention, more use of restorative justice and getting serious about rehabilitation and reintegration - it's an obvious package of solutions. It has taken a massive blowout of prison numbers for the government to wake up to it, and we are glad they have.

"In particular the attempt to bore inmates to death has been abandoned, and it looks like we are going to see more productive use being made of their time. That has to be good.

"Restorative justice is another area that has been calling out for attention. Far from simply showing promise, it has demonstrated that it can both increase victim satisfaction and help reduce reoffending."

However, the Green Party is expressing some reservations about the package because of possible 'net-widening' effects.

Changes to parole rules that will now see prisoners serve two-thirds of their sentence before being eligible for parole is one area of potential concern.

"Parole decisions currently seem to be used as a de facto second sentencing. For that reason these changes may be beneficial. More transparency is needed for the sake of victims as well. But there is a potential to see people serving longer sentences for minor offences if sentences are not adjusted as well.

"The other concern is around new options for bail provisions. While I welcome reducing the number of people remanded in custody, as long as the public is kept safe, I would be concerned to see people currently remanded at large being subject to new kinds of restrictions because of monitoring technology. These are people who have not been found guilty of any crime and they deserve a fair go until they get to court."


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