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Corrections finally admits there's a muster crisis

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

7 November 2007

Corrections finally admits there's a muster crisis

The Corrections Department has finally admitted it has a severe muster crisis on its hands, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“CEO Barrie Matthews admitted to the Law & Order Select Committee today that the four new prisions had not kept pace with the increase in prison numbers, saying ‘as fast as we build them, they are being filled’.

“He also revealed that the current prediction of 964 more prisoners by 2014 was being lifted.

“This, and the fact that they are contemplating building eight-storey and six-storey prison blocks at Auckland Central Remand Prison to deal with growing numbers and aging prisons, is very revealing.

“Till now they have been denying there was a crisis.

“What Barrie Matthews didn’t tell us is that Labour’s bungling – which has seen the prison muster climb 300 above the peak forecast to 8,200 – could mean prisoners being held in police and court cells, and in vans on streets, as happened in 2005.

“If that happens, it will be a direct result of Labour’s poor planning and the failure of its Effective Interventions policies which were designed to limit the muster to 7,959 by September this year.

“National has been warning for many months that, with half of all cells due to be refurbished, replaced or decommissioned, and with prisoner numbers clearly out of control, this crisis was looming - but they refused to listen.

“Perhaps now Labour will now get on and do something about it.”


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