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Labour’s record: more serious offenders on streets

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

2 May 2008

Labour’s record: more serious offenders on the street

More than half the people on home detention have been convicted of either violent, sexual, or drug offences, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“When home detention was introduced, the public were assured it was intended only for those who posed minimal direct risk to the community, such as those convicted of fraud or driving offences.

“But under the Labour Government, we are seeing more violent, sex, and drug offenders left out in the community.”

He is releasing figures which show that in 2006/07, of the 1,517 offenders sentenced to home detention, 801 (53%) had been convicted of such offences, compared to 39% in 2001/02, including:

* 426 for violence, compared to 136 in 2001/02
* 286 for drugs, compared to 186
* 89 for sex offences, compared to 19.

"And this was before Labour introduced home detention as a stand-alone sentence in October last year, broadening the number of eligible offenders even further.

“Some of the offenders sentenced to home detention since then aren't even being monitored electronically because Corrections can't install the systems fast enough.

“In some cases they go for days without a bracelet, and in the case of at least one man, 10 days.

“Home detention as a sentence must be restricted to only low-level offenders who pose no direct threat to the community, but the Labour Government continues to put its obsession with reducing the number of prison inmates ahead of public safety.

“Why else would Labour promise NZ First it would review the types of offenders being placed on home detention, and then promptly ditch that review after making home detention a stand-alone sentence as an alternative to short prison sentences?

“The public will be very surprised that these types of offenders are being sentenced to home detention.”

Attachment: Answers to parliamentary questions

ENDS

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