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Labour lets 81% of prisoners do nothing



Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

5 November 2006

Labour lets 81% of prisoners do nothing

The Government is letting 81% of prisoners do nothing meaningful while in prison, says National Party Law & Order spokesman Simon Power.

He is releasing figures that show only 19%, or 1,470 of the prison population of 7,612, took part in Corrections Inmate Employment in 2005/06, down from 23% in 2005 and 26% in 2004. In some prisons, less than 10% of prisoners are in work schemes. The worst are:

Rolleston: 8.6% of prisoners in work.
Mt Eden: 8.7%
Rimutaka: 11%
Christchurch Women’s: 13.5%
Dunedin: 13.8%

“These figures are an appalling indictment on this Government’s approach to prisoner rehabilitation and preparing them for release,” says Mr Power.


“They have cut funding by 27% since 2001/02, from $46.5 million to $34 million.

“In May, Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor announced a strategy that he said would help in ‘significantly increasing the number of prisoners in work and training’.

“But a week later this was shown to be nothing more than window dressing when the Budget increased funding for prisoner employment by a measly $336,000 – up 1%.

“If Damien O’Connor had not allowed the construction budget to blow out by $490 million there would have been more than a miserable $336,000 extra to spend on effective rehabilitation and work schemes.

“He seems happier to spend $11 million on landscaping four new prisons and allow prisoners to sit around playing Playstations and Xboxes on their flat-screen TVs than he is about helping them get better prepared for when they are released.

“Prisoners should be doing meaningful work, training or study while they are in prisons, and I imagine the public would agree.”



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