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Remand prisoner population increased by 116%

Remand prisoner population increased by 116% in Last Ten Year

The Law and Order Select Committee was today urged to consider amendments to bail legislation as an opportunity to reduce reoffending and crime. Kim Workman, Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, told the Committee that the Bail Act should be considered within the framework of the government’s Reducing Crime and Reoffending Action Plan.

“In the last ten years, the sentenced prisoner population increased by 33.7%, while the remand population increased by 116%.” Said Mr Workman, “Around 56 percent of those remanded in custody did not go on to serve a custodial sentence. We remand offenders in custody at a rate higher than other comparable countries, with the exception of the United States.

“Maori defendants are nearly twice as likely as their European counterparts to be remanded in custody. The unanswered question is whether this discrepancy occurs because of differential offending patterns by Maori, a lack of cultural responsiveness, or the negative impact of laws, structures, processes and decision making criteria. There has been no in-depth research on this issue since 1973, and it is a matter of urgency.”

“We are also concerned at the proposal to remand young people in custody, despite the overwhelming evidence that doing so will increase the likelihood they will reoffend, creating still more victims.”

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