INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Prison Highlights Further Failings Of System

Published: Tue 16 May 2000 02:59 PM
New Prison Highlights Further Failings Of Justice System
Green Party Justice spokesperson Nandor Tanczos today said that Corrections Minister Matt Robson appeared to have been captured by his officials in agreeing to a new 350 bed prison at Ngawha.
Mr Tanczos described the prison as a disaster for Northland and said it was symbolic of a justice system that was failing nationally and was unprepared to change.
Mr Tanczos said he shared the stated view of Corrections Minister Mat Robson that he wanted to reduce crime, but said the creation of a new prison was at odds with that goal. While Mr Robson was talking about a 'rehab prison', what local people were calling for was small scale habilitative centres run by local communities.
"This prison has been condemned in Northland, which makes a mockery of Matt Robson's claims for a consultative approach. What is the point of having a Iwi Liaison Officer to consult when the clear wishes of Nga Puhi and others have been ignored?"
Mr Tanczos said it was ironic that Matt Robson was arguing that local people must feel 'a sense of ownership and involvement when key decisions are made' when the community was feeling let down by the biggest decision of them all.
"In my meetings with people in the North it was clear to me that people there feel betrayed by the lack of genuine consultation and that their serious concerns have been so readily dismissed," said Mr Tanczos.
"What these people want are small scale, rehabilitative units with a focus on crime reduction," he said. "It seems as though Matt Robson has not been informed about the level of community opposition to this plan."
Ends

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