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'Truth In Sentencing Bill' cost $1/2 billion

New figures released today by Alliance spokesperson on justice, Matt Robson show that Act leader Richard Prebble would cost the country half a billion dollars to implement his Truth and Sentencing Bill.

The Bill was introduced into Parliament with support from the Government in May.

Minister of Corrections, Clem Simich replied to Matt Robson in a written question:

'It is estimated that if all offenders sentenced to a finite sentence of imprisonment were to serve at least 80% of their sentence, the average prison population would increase by an estimated 2,740 inmates. The likely capital cost of building additional prison accommodation would be $427m, with annual ongoing operating costs of $137m.'

"Act is a high-spending party when it comes to building new prisons. But what would the New Zealand public rather have: $838 million dollars over three years spent on new prisons or $838 million on creating new jobs?

"Imagine how much difference this money would make to the police. At the end of the day, that would make your community feel much safer than the prospect of a new prison about to go up in your back yard.

"We should be thinking about how to bring down the rates of crime, not how to increase the numbers in prisons to exploding point, and then how to house all the extra inmates.

"Building more prisons is accepting defeat and saying to New Zealanders - there's nothing we can do to stop crime happening in the first place.

"Act is making its spending plan transparent: $838 million dollars on new prisons, and not a cent to create a single new job," said Matt Robson.

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