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Country Club Prisons On The Way

Country Club Prisons On The Way

Friday 29 Nov 2002 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

Providing prison inmates with bleach for the sterilisation of needles tells us all that the Government has lost control of prisons and their inmates. To prisoners, the message can only be that it condones the use of Class A drugs in New Zealand prisons, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"This project provides ample evidence that the Government is not only aware of prison drug use, but refuses to take appropriate measures to stop it," Mr Franks said.

"To side-step the issue, Ministers Mark Gosche and Annette King have wrapped the project in window-dressing. I am sure that they are sincere in wanting to curb an apparent spread of serious, communicable diseases among inmates. But if prisons were not so hamstrung by red tape, and union obstacles to straight-forward random drug inspections, the problem would be dealt with, not its symptoms.

"If this Government were as concerned with the welfare of inmates as it claims, it would ensure drugs are not being used in prisons. Instead it is sending a message to offenders that, should they get caught, they will still be permitted their criminal pleasures in the safety of prison. A measure that tells prisoners the authorities concede control to them will make things even harder for prison guards in the long run.

"Inmates have committed crimes against society and imprisonment is supposed to punish them, prevent them from offending again by separating them from the community and help them learn to live without offending. How does facilitating drug use do that?

"Labour's new scheme ruins all three purposes of prison. Is it the Government's role to make prison more enjoyable for the offender? To tell criminals that they can still enjoy the comforts of home?

"The Government must stop shirking its duty. If Labour continues down this road, New Zealand's prisons could become insane country clubs for holidays from troublesome reality," said Mr Franks.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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