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Prison Turns Over 3,000 Beneficiaries A Year

Media Release

Prison Turns Over 3,000 Beneficiaries A Year

Friday, October 31, 2008

Figures released under the Official Information Act show that during 2007 2,860 beneficiaries left welfare to go to prison and 3,171 inmates left prison to go on a benefit.

According to welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell , the current prison population is around 8,000.

"These figures raise a number of questions, " she said today. "Firstly, the public assume that if benefits are not paid to certain individuals , crime will increase. However these statistics prove that people receiving benefits commit crime anyway. Secondly, does the benefit system have any sort of moral compass when people who have repeatedly broken the law, who have committed the most serious offences, are still entitled to taxpayer support? Thirdly, how successful are prisons at readying prisoners for release if they are cycling on and off benefits? Does the availability of welfare on release undermine the motivation to learn new skills while incarcerated?

And finally these figures show that being on a benefit more than doubles the risk of imprisonment. What research is being done into the backgrounds of prisoners? How many were raised on welfare?

It seems to me that while it is vital to create better policies to deal with the present levels of crime, far more attention needs to be paid to state-funded lifestyles that lead people to crime. Ultimately, relieving able people of a responsibility to support themselves relieves them of life's very productive purpose - working to survive. "


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