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Corrections Is About More than Cash and Jail Time

Andrew Little – Justice Spokesperson

28 April 2013

Corrections Is About More than Cash and Jail Time 

Locking up a street thug for 14 years for stealing a baseball cap and cellphone would cost the taxpayer about $1.3 million with little chance his behaviour will change once he is released,  says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Andrew Little.

"The so-called three strikes law was justified on the basis it would deal with the most serious offenders, but using it for this level of offence just looks plain ridiculous.

"We need effective sanctions for crime but what we need above all is effective means to change anti-social behaviour.

"Sending a young chap to ever-lengthening prison terms for thuggery might look tough but it doesn’t stand to reason when you think that prison is unlikely to fix the basic problem of his behaviour.

"An offender like Elijah Whaanga needs to pay his dues to the community for his offending but the community's best interests would be best served by him getting help to rewire his brain and change his attitudes. That won't take 14 years and $1.3 million of taxpayer cash.

"we need effective corrections measures, not hugely expensive populist gestures,” Andrew Little said.

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