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Movement Of Prisoners Reveals Crisis - PSA

The disclosure that 30 North Island prisoners are to be flown to the Christchurch region tomorrow is a revealing and worrying development, the PSA said today.

`This is just the tip of an iceberg which will reveal a real shortage of prison accommodations and the lack of commitment to providing more prisons from this National Government,' Organiser Yvonne Geekie said today.

`As society demands and receives longer and longer prison terms for offenders there has to be a realisation that demand, sadly, is going to far outstrip the supply of beds.

`From tomorrow night the Christchurch region will have just five spaces available and that has to be a concern that goes to the very top of the Department for Corrections and the Government,' she said.

Other issues this raises are that taxpayers money will be paying for this arranged travel and, for the 30 prisoners themselves, there is the problem they will now be unable to be close to where their families and whanau expected them to serve their sentences.

`The PSA has been working with prison management on issues like this but in a sense this is out of our hands,' Geekie said.

`Both management and our prison officer members are simply severely hampered in improving aspects of this service - of bringing some quality into the service - because of the lack of government funding."

The introduction of privately run prisons needs to go hand in hand with a drive for a better quality service in this area.

"That will improve the both quality of the jobs our members do and the quality of the service they can provide," she said.

ENDS....

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