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Goff slams National’s comments on Home Detention

Goff slams National’s comments on Home Detention

Simon Power’s claim that the cost of putting people in prison is being put ahead of public safety is nonsense and he knows it, says Corrections Minister Phil Goff.

“Because of much tougher laws and the biggest increase ever (around 2500) in New Zealand’s police force numbers, more people than ever before have faced prison as a sanction over the last nine years,” Phil Goff said.

“Prison numbers are up by around 3300, an increase of 71 per cent since 1999.

“All of the legislation Labour inherited from National has been made considerably tougher. Repeat offenders let out on bail by National are now more likely to be denied bail, under the Bail Act 2000.

“Under the Sentencing Act 2002 the worst offenders now serve years longer in prison while under the Parole Act 2002, 72 per cent of offenders are denied parole compared with 52 per cent under National,” Phil Goff said.

“National cut police budgets year after year, and tried to reduce police numbers. Labour has increased police funding consistently and added 2500 further police staff.

“This has significantly increased police crime resolution rates.

“Home detention is a sentence of the court. The court does not sentence offenders to home detention unless it is confident that there are minimal safety risks to the community.

“One advantage of home detention is that offenders have a much lower rate of reoffending after completing their sentence than those sentenced for similar offences to imprisonment.

“From the taxpayers’ point of view the cost of home detention with electronic monitoring is a third as much and the offender stays in work and supporting his family. The rate of reoffending and absconding on home detention is very low,” Phil Goff said.

“Simon Power talks of being ready to build another prison. Labour has already built four new prisons at a cost of over $1 billion and under current laws, more prisons will have to be built.

“What he is promising or implies National will do in justice in cutting home detention and parole, will on Corrections estimates require additional expenditure of more than $1 billion and ongoing operating costs of $200 million to $300 million a year.

“He should explain to the public whether that will come at the expense of health or education spending or tax cuts, and if not where the money is coming from.

“Otherwise his statements lack any credibility, the more so given National’s dismal track record in this area,” Phil Goff said.


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