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Prisoner tattoo scheme not working

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

7 December 2005

Prisoner tattoo scheme not working

National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power, says the Corrections Department’s tattoo removal scheme has proved to be a waste of $278,000 of taxpayers’ money.

He is commenting on replies from the Corrections Minister to questions regarding the scheme, which was designed to see if removing prisoners’ visible tattoos reduced serious offending.

In one reply the department admits ‘The re-offending rate was not significantly different from that of a control group of prisoners’.

Mr Power says this supports what had long been suspected: “The scheme is a waste of money.

“It has cost an average of $891 for each of the 312 prisoners who have taken part since 1999 and has achieved virtually nothing. The department admits that.

“Its own figures cite some serious re-offending by prisoners despite having their tattoos removed – crimes like assaults on females, kidnapping and aggravated robbery, burglaries, and breach of parole.

“It is time to ditch the scheme and spend the money on something more useful. Corrections’ resources are really stretched right now so there are plenty of things to choose from,” says Mr Power.

ENDS

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