Tougher parole measures for worst offenders

Press Release – New Zealand National Party

National will focus squarely on the safety and protection of families and the most vulnerable in New Zealand’s communities, through tougher sentencing and parole measures, Prime Minister and National Party leader John Key announced today. Hon John Key
Prime Minister &
Leader of the National Party

7 November 2011

Tougher parole measures for worst offenders
National will focus squarely on the safety and protection of families and the most vulnerable in New Zealand’s communities, through tougher sentencing and parole measures, Prime Minister and National Party leader John Key announced today.

National will introduce civil detention orders, which will protect the community from a very small number of sexual and violent offenders who are at high risk of re-offending when they leave jail.

“Under National, these people – who would pose a danger to communities – will be held under a civil detention order in a secure facility. This will ensure a number of the country’s very worst offenders will be kept away from the communities they have harmed until the Parole Board is convinced they are safe for release,” says Mr Key.

“We will also introduce screening of parole applications, so only those people who are willing to rehabilitate will get their day in front of the Parole Board. National is not going to cause unnecessary stress and upset to victims and their families by granting parole hearings to offenders who are clearly not prepared to change their behaviour on release.

“We’ve passed 18 new laws to improve public safety and the rights of victims in the past three years,” says Mr Key. “The wellbeing of our communities remains front and centre for National, which is why we’re committed to protecting New Zealanders from the country’s most dangerous criminals.

“We will continue keeping on top of gangs, further strengthen sentencing, bail and parole laws, and we’ll continue to confront domestic violence, and violent and sexual abuse of children and the elderly, to build a safer New Zealand.

“The laws we have introduced in our first three years in government are helping us to get on top of crime,” says Mr Key. “The overall crime rate is at its lowest level since 1982, and the rate of violent crime has decreased two years in row.”

Mr Key says National inherited a vastly different situation when it came to office in 2008.

“Crime was increasing, violent repeat offenders were being freed on parole, there was no focus on the victims’ role in the justice system, the courts were congested with a backlog of cases, and the number of prison beds needed was predicted to keep rising for the foreseeable future.

“Crime is now falling, victims’ rights are at the forefront and the number of prison beds we need has stopped rising.

“National will continue its track record of staying tough on criminals, protecting communities, preventing crime and putting victims at the heart of the justice system,” says Mr Key.

Visit National’s Law and Order: Protecting Communities Policy at:

http://national.org.nz/PDF_General/Protecting_Communities_policy.pdf

ENDS

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