Billion dollar bail laws are moral and fiscal failure

A new report highlighting the causes of the runaway growth in the prison population released today is further proof we need a cross-party consensus on justice issues, the Green Party said today.

JustSpeak’s new report ‘Bailing out the Justice System’ shows that new laws introduced in 2013 reversed the longstanding decline in prison numbers and forced the Government to spend a billion dollars on a new prison.

“This report makes clear that morally and economically, we can’t afford to keep using law and order as a political ping pong ball,” said Green Party justice spokesperson David Clendon.

“Our justice system is badly broken and we need a cross-party consensus on how to fix it, because at the current rate of growth, the Government will need to keep building a prison every five years.

“The 2013 Bail Amendment Act was a terrible piece of legislation which has resulted in more non-violent and non-serious offenders being refused bail.

“It needs to be replaced with a sustainable, long term approach to making our communities safer that will actually reduce the number of people being locked up over time.

“No Government can build its way out of this situation – what we need is better policy and practice, not more concrete and steel.

“If National are serious about using social investment to improve long term outcomes for New Zealanders, they need to urgently look at why we are locking up more non-violent offenders and for longer than before.

“I am hopeful that the new Corrections and Justice Ministers will use this report as an opportunity to work with all parties to come up with solutions for a fair and less costly justice system”, said Mr Clendon.

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