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Public doesn’t trust Corrections - Power

Public doesn’t trust Corrections

The Corrections Department has an awful lot of work to do to gain the trust and confidence of the public, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is commenting on a survey on ‘Public perceptions of the Department of Corrections’, conducted by Research New Zealand in March and April, but only released recently as part of Parliament's financial review of the department.

It shows that Corrections has a low level of public trust and confidence. Only 32% had knowledge of the department and full trust in it. The main reasons for poor trust were:

Sentences and penalties are too soft/sentences not tough enough.

Too soft with prisoners.

Bad publicity/always in the news.

Ineffective/not enough rehabilitation.

Prisons bursting at the seams.

Issues with management/staff/financing

Re-offending is very high/common.

The survey also showed that Corrections has a low public profile, with 68% claiming they knew a reasonable amount about what it did, but 63% of those were incorrect.

"These results are not surprising, certainly given the year Corrections has suffered under CEO Barry Matthews and Minister Damien O’Connor. A long litany of blunders, incompetence, and tragedy has made this a year many would prefer to forget.

"All through the year, when Damien O’Connor has been asked if he had confidence in his department, he routinely answered ‘Yes, but there is always room for improvement’.

"That was probably the one thing he was right about in 2006.

"If that survey shows what the public was thinking earlier in the year, imagine what they must be thinking now."

For copy of survey go to: www.national.org.nz/files/Power_survey.pdf

ENDS

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