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Prisons report shows National was right

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

14 December 2005

Prisons report shows National was right

National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power, says the Ombudsman’s report on the Corrections Department confirms what National has been saying all along about overcrowding and a decline in the employment hours of inmates.

“We have been pointing out to this Government our concerns over the serious overcrowding and the decrease in funding and work hours for inmate work programmes, but they have simply dismissed us.

“Maybe the Ombudsman’s report will bring home to Minister Damien O’Connor the seriousness of the situation, or hasn’t he noticed the reports of prisoners jammed into police and court cells, and into prison vans in streets?

“It also appears Mr O’Connor and his department have been engaged in a bit of truth-stretching, with the Ombudsman saying they have not been revealing the true picture of the state of work programmes.

It says: ‘We have been forced to conclude that the reality of the situation is far removed from the optimistic picture that seems to be presented by the Annual Reports.’

“It is time Damien O’Connor and his department started providing the public with the true story.

“The prison officers know it, the Ombudsman knows it, and National knows it, so perhaps Mr O’Connor will stop playing politics and will start admitting it to himself.

“He says he will address concerns over inmate employment over the next three years, but this is more urgent than that. The prison population is continuing to grow and this will put more pressure on our prisons and on our staff.

“Action is needed now. We can’t wait three years for this Minister to prove himself,” says Mr Power.

ENDS

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