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Minister releases Justice briefing

Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice
16 December 2008 Media Statement

Minister releases Justice briefing

The Government’s quick moves to change the laws on bail and on sentencing for crimes against children show its action plan for law and order is well on course, Justice Minister Simon Power said today in releasing the briefing document from the Ministry of Justice.

“To some extent this document reflects some of the priorities of the previous government, but since I became Minister, the Ministry of Justice has moved quickly on the National-led Government’s agenda for law and order, particularly for the first 100 days.

“The Ministry should be congratulated for its responsiveness in that regard.

“However, one issue that the briefing highlights is a lack of planning by the previous government.

“Under Labour, the justice sector suffered from a lack of coherence in policy-making which led to decisions being made without proper consideration of the effects on other agencies.

“In this regard, one of the most pressing matters identified in the briefing relates to the pressure on courts and on community probation services after Labour introduced its range of community-based sentences in a bid to cut the prison population.

“The briefing notes that those sentences have been used in greater volumes than anticipated, and that the subsequent lack of capacity has ‘the potential to significantly reduce service delivery standards’ and ‘created considerable risks to the quality of sentence management, and is not sustainable.’

“This is of considerable concern.

“After Labour adopted the reduction of the prison population as the focus of their law and order policy, their haste in steering offenders away from prison and towards new community sentences has again revealed a failure to plan.

“Now it’s left to the new Government to clean up the mess.”

Briefing for the Incoming Minister of Justice 2008: http://beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Justice_BIM.pdf

ENDS

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