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Swain letting offenders shirk soft sentences

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

15 October 2003

Swain letting offenders shirk soft sentences

The National Party is attacking the Government's new-look periodic detention scheme as a dismal failure.

"So much for community 'work'. Three out of five offenders sentenced to this scheme don't turn up, and if it's raining they're sent home," says National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall.

The community-based sentence replaced PD and community sentencing under the new Sentencing Act last year.

"Now we have the Unions blowing the whistle on this disastrous scheme," says Mr Ryall. "NUPE's statement today labelling community work a "failure" and calling on the Government to do something says it all.

"Most New Zealanders would be appalled to hear that 60% of offenders don't even bother to turn up for community work, with some failing to appear for weeks. Even worse, some offenders are reportedly being sent home from work when it's raining.

"Not only is this offensive to the many victims of crime, it also shows utter disrespect for court sentences.

"National has warned the Corrections Minister that the community work scheme is ripe for abuse, but he refuses to listen. Paul Swain now needs to get out of his chair and sort this out," says Mr Ryall.


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