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Corrections Dept out of Minister’s control

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

15 October 2006

Corrections Dept out of Minister’s control

The housing of hardened adult prisoners in youth offender units shows that Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor has no control over his department, says National’s Law and Order spokesman, Simon Power.

Department of Corrections papers show that 49 prisoners aged over 18 spent time in youth offender units in the 12 months to September. The adult offenders’ crimes included murder, sexual violation, supply of drugs, burglary, robbery and fraud.

“We have a situation where youths as young as 14 are learning from hardened criminals. We don’t want our youth offender units becoming criminal academies,” says Mr Power.

“Mr O’Connor lost control of his department long ago. Everything runs amuck around him.

“This latest revelation raises serious issues not only about the safety of young people in these youth facilities, but about the exposure they are getting to violent and dishonest adult prisoners.

“This practice of mixing youth and adult offenders must stop immediately, and the Minister must start exercising some control over the Department of Corrections.”

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