Prisoner bill knocks out safeguards

Press Release – Green Party

A bill tabled in Parliament last week knocks out one of the key safeguards against prisoners getting abused in our prisons, the Green Party said today. The Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (Redirecting Prisoner Compensation) Amendment Bill creates …18 October 2011

Prisoner bill knocks out safeguards

A bill tabled in Parliament last week knocks out one of the key safeguards against prisoners getting abused in our prisons, the Green Party said today.

The Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (Redirecting Prisoner Compensation) Amendment Bill creates a system where any compensation awarded by the Courts to prisoners who suffer human rights abuses while in jail will be automatically directed back to the Crown if not assigned to victims.

“This bill knocks out one of the key safeguards against prisoners being abused in our prisons,” Green Party Corrections spokesperson David Clendon said.

“Under this law abuse could increase in our prisons as it effectively means that prisoners are much less likely to complain when abuse occurs

“There is no independent prison authority in New Zealand so there is no effective independent means to investigate complaints in our prisons.

“This is why it is important that prisoners have access to the Courts to seek remedies when they have been grossly mistreated. It is an important mechanism to prevent abuse occurring.

“We need to make sure that where abuse happens it is reported. The message this bill sends is that there is no point complaining about abuse.”

The Attorney-General released a report yesterday which said the bill is inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, the Human Rights Act, and the Privacy Act, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

The Government needs to do more than pay lip service to the international treaties it has signed up to,” Mr Clendon said.

Attorney General’s report on the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (Redirecting Prisoner Compensation) Amendment Bill
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Presented/Papers/e/f/d/49DBHOH_PAP22229_1-Attorney-General-Report-of-the-under-the-New-Zealand.htm

ENDS

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