Corrections Minister welcomes select committee inq
Corrections Minister welcomes select committee inquiry
Corrections Minister Phil Goff today welcomed an inquiry by the Law and Order select committee into the Corrections Department.
“Our corrections system has improved significantly over the past nine years, after real and sustained investment from the Labour-led Government following a decade of neglect,” Phil Goff said.
“If prisons are as badly run as Simon Power suggests, he needs to explain the following:
- The escape rate is six times lower than a decade ago when Mr Power was part of the National Government – down from 1.80 escapes per 100 inmates in 1996/1997 to 0.25 per 100 inmates in 2006/2007.
- Positive drug tests have dropped from 34 per cent in 1998 to 13.8 per cent now – half the level of a decade ago.
- The rate of interception and detection of contraband has gone up significantly under this Government.
- More prisoners are in work, with the percentage having increased by seven per cent in the past 18 months, from 40 per cent to 47 per cent, and on track to achieving a target of 60 per cent by 2010.
- Six drug and alcohol treatment units in prisons have been established to deal with addiction, which is a factor in offending by 80 per cent of inmates.
- Under this Government, specialist reintegration units have been established, resources increased and the number of prisoners on Release to Work is now at a record high. These initiatives improve inmates’ employability and work to reduce the rate of reoffending on release to make communities safer.
- This Government has introduced cell phone jamming and monitoring of land line calls to crack down on criminal offending.
- The Labour-led Government has built an additional 2372 prison beds, ensuring the prison system has the capacity to deal with more criminals being apprehended and convicted – with more police, higher police crime resolution rates and tougher penalties for worst offenders.
- The success of some of the Department’s rehabilitation programmes, such as Kia Marama and Te Piriti – which are world leaders in their field.
“While Simon Power talks of scandals, the best he has recently been able to come up with is that some inmates have been allowed access to a putter to sink a golf ball into a baked beans can, set into a mown strip of grass – and that was introduced under National,” Phil Goff said.