Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Overflowing prisons set to explode

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

2 May 2007

Overflowing prisons set to explode

New Zealand’s prison system is five months from a potentially disastrous overcrowding problem, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“The Government’s failure to pass legislation early enough to help ease pressure on our already bulging prisons is to blame for this very concerning possibility.”

He is releasing Justice Ministry documents from last year, which show that proposed changes to home detention, community-based sentences, sentencing guidelines and parole reforms which are contained in the Criminal Justice Reform Bill (formerly the Justice Remedial Matters Amendment Bill) are behind schedule.

“The introduction of a Sentencing Council, designed to take the pressure off the Government on prisoner numbers and sentencing outcomes, will fail to hide the Minister’s inadequacies in this area.”

In the documents, officials tell Minister Mark Burton:

- The bill must be passed ‘no later than April 2007 … so the legislative changes can help deal with the predicted September 2007 seasonal peak in the prison population’.

- ‘Delaying this legislation, or the other key implementation steps, will result in further substantial pressure on prisons.’

- ‘Any material delay, particularly with legislation for home detention, will have consequences for the prison building programme.’

- ‘If legislative changes are delayed or deferred, the Department of Corrections could not rely on achieving the reduced bed numbers and could need to re-visit the prison build options.’

“Mark Burton has dropped the ball again.

“This bill isn’t due to be reported back from select committee until June, and even then it still has to pass through several more readings before it becomes law.

“This could lead to further issues caused by overcrowding, including increasing violence, problems controlling the smuggling of contraband, and even law suits from complaining prisoners.

“Instead, come September we are likely to see more prisoners held in police cells and being flown around the country Con Air-style.

“How has Mark Burton managed to muck this up when Labour has hardly had an overwhelming legislative agenda?

“He must tell the public how he is going to prevent chaos in September – or will Helen Clark have to step in again?”


For copy of pages from overview of Effective Interventions, copy this address to your browser: http://www.national.org.nz/files/power_interventions.pdf

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news