The Government’s Department of Corrections is performing abysmally and needs to be overhauled so that it stops costing tax-payers, prisoners and the wider community, the Green Party said today.
“Finding out that hundreds, possibly thousands, of people have been held in prison for longer than they should have been is the latest in a long list of failures for this disastrous department,” said Green Party Corrections spokesperson David Clendon.
“Minister Judith Collins needs to front up and explain how she is going to ensure that this is the last failure New Zealanders have to put up with.
“It’s extraordinary that an inmate had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to get action on being wrongfully held in prison.
“Judges and Corrections have been speaking at cross purposes for years on this issue. When Judges set sentence dates for the length of time they want a person to stay in custody, Corrections should have been following that.
“Twenty one people may be released today because they have served their sentence and are meant to be already with their families.
“The Corrections Minister needs to give us all assurances that these people will be given the support they need to return safely and successfully to the community.
“This latest crisis provides us with an opportunity for a complete rethink about how we manage our prison systems in New Zealand.
“I’m about to go overseas on a tour of countries, including Finland and Norway, who are getting it right. The Minister and the Department should be looking towards these countries and making some bold changes themselves,” said Mr Clendon.