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Now it’s petanque and golf in our prisons

Now it’s petanque and golf in our prisons

The Corrections Department remains sadly out of touch with what the public expects to be happening in our prisons, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing an answer to a written parliamentary question in which Corrections Minister Phil Goff admits petanque is played in some prisons and that Auckland and Wanganui Prisons have grass areas ‘that can be used for [golf] putting’.

“What’s going on in our prisons?

“They are supposed to be places of punishment and rehabilitation, but under this Government they seem to be serving these two purposes less and less.

“Instead of going out of their way to make life easier for prisoners by organising gear for them as an alternative to ‘idleness’ and to ‘provide alternatives to criminal lifestyles’, Corrections should be making them do something useful, like putting them to work or making them study, or attending drug and alcohol rehabilitation courses.

“Too many in the prison population sit around all day doing nothing – except, it seems, playing petanque and golf.

“What we do know is that the number of employment hours on a per prisoner basis has dropped to 13 hours a week.

“These are serious issues that this Government should be addressing.

“Instead we have landscaping, under-floor heating, flat-screen TVs, barbecues as rewards, trips to the beach, R-rated movies – you name it.

“Perhaps their attitude is summed up by assistant general manager Bryan McMurray who said that ‘people don’t go to prison to be punished’.

“That would have come as a complete surprise to the public.”


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