Prison closures could increase community risk

Closing provincial prisons is counterproductive to rehabilitating prisoners and integrating them back into the community said the Green Party today.

Closing provincial prisons is counterproductive to rehabilitating prisoners and integrating them back into the community said the Green Party today.

The Government yesterday announced that they will be closing units in three provincial prisons around the North Island.  It is estimated that the closure will result in over 260 job losses.

“The Government is failing prisoners and compromising the safety of communities by closing provincial prisons,” said Green Party corrections spokesperson David Clendon.

“Research shows that inmates who maintain families and other relationships while in prison are more likely to be successfully rehabilitated, so moving inmates to Auckland away from their support networks is counterproductive.

“What we will see are former prisoners who are released into the community who are more likely to reoffend because they have not had proper rehabilitation.

“Government figures last week showed that reoffending is up and this will continue to be the trend if the National Government continues to put privatisation before community safety.

“Despite what the Government says, prisoners will have to be moved to the new private prisons being built away from the regions because there won’t be space to house them close by with these closures.

“The closures of these prisons are an inevitable result of National pouring money into a private prison in Wiri.

“If they had invested the $900 million into provincial prisons instead of Wiri, we would not be looking at all these job losses.

“The Green Party believes we should not introduce a private profit motive into the prison system but rather the priority for our justice system should be community safety and rehabilitation,” said Mr Clendon.

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