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What are prisons for, Mr Goff?

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

12 December 2007

What are prisons for, Mr Goff?

Corrections Minister Phil Goff needs to tell the public if he backs his department’s claim that prisons are not there to punish people, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is commenting after Corrections assistant general manager Bryan McMurray said RSA triple killer William Bell was not in prison to be punished, and that ‘people don’t go to prison to be punished’.

“What an astonishing thing to say.

“One aspect of prisons is the punitive factor that the public expects to be applied when an offender is incarcerated.

“Offenders also go there to have some of their offending issues dealt with, but the public will be astonished by the department’s view.

“I have no doubt that looking at Labour’s prisons – with their under-floor heating, LCD TVs, Playstations, Xbox’s, BBQs, R-rated movies, easy access to cellphones, $11 million of landscaping, and trips to the beach – the public would be of the view there has been a change in culture.

“Most New Zealanders would be appalled that prisoners get access to that sort of stuff, just as they would be appalled to think that the Corrections Department, which is charged with housing offenders, doesn’t believe it’s a place where people should be punished.

“Phil Goff needs to tell the public if he agrees with his officials.”


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