Prison muster blowout reveals Government failure

A blowout in prison population numbers, that appears to have caught the National Government off guard, is the latest evidence of the Government’s failure to manage the Prison Service, the Green Party said today.

A blowout in prison population numbers, that appears to have caught the National Government off guard, is the latest evidence of the Government’s failure to manage the Prison Service, the Green Party said today.

The Green Party can reveal the Government is looking into ‘band aid’ measures to meet demand after prison population forecasts grossly underestimated 2016 prison population numbers.

Earlier forecasts had the prison population at well under 9,000 this year, but the Green Party understands latest forecasts now have population nudging towards 10,000 throughout 2016.

“It’s hard to imagine how the Department could have got the muster numbers so wrong, other than officials hoping that there’d be fewer prisoners in order to justify the Governments cost cutting agenda,” Green Party corrections spokesperson David Clendon said.

“Alternatively, the National Government has fallen prey to its own press releases about reducing reoffending and is now failing to manage the prison service in a way that keeps the public and prisoners safe - the prison muster blowout is the latest evidence of that.

“The truth is, under National we’re seeing an American style of justice that’s filling up our jails, but failing to make New Zealand a safer place.

“Having closed prisons and laid off staff, there now aren’t enough staff to ensure our prisons are being run safely.

“I have very little faith in the National Government to manage its way out of the mess it’s created in the prison service, because the Corrections Minister whose so called tough on crime justice policies caused this mess, is the same person charged with cleaning it up,” Mr Clendon said.

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