It should be no surprise that violent crime has increased when the prison population and rehabilitation services continue to decline, National's Corrections spokesperson Simon O'Connor says.
"The prison population has decreased by 24 per cent under Labour. At the same time, violent crime has increased by 21 per cent, and gang membership is up by 51 per cent.
"Labour has an explicit target to reduce the prison population without a plan to reduce crime. This recklessness demonstrates public safety is not a priority for this Government.
"Moreover, data demonstrates a record low number of offences resulted in a prison sentence in the latest year, representing an overall decrease of 44 per cent under Labour. This means that while violent crime has risen, prison is being used less as a tool to remove offenders from circulation and provide them rehabilitation before they return to our communities.
"Despite fewer people being in prison, a record low proportion of prisoners are being provided access to rehabilitation services. In 2017/2018, 52 per cent of prisoners were accessing rehabilitation services. But in 2022 and after five years of Labour, that figure has dropped to just 29 per cent.
"We should be using prisons to hold offenders to account, provide a circuit breaker and address the underlying causes of their offending.
"Instead, Labour's aversion and neglect of our prison system mean worse outcomes for public safety and offenders’ rehabilitation.
“Labour’s performance in corrections is symbolic of their five years in power and a Government that consistently fails to deliver. More money is being spent, but we’re getting worse outcomes.”