Thursday, May 23, 2024

Govt locks in $1.9b investment for safer jails

The Government has today announced a $1.9 billion investment in more frontline Corrections officers, more support for offenders, and greater prison capacity.

Corrections Minister, Mark Mitchell says New Zealanders will be safer thanks to the investment.

“Our Government said we would crack down on crime. We promised to restore law and order, and that means ensuring there are serious consequences for serious offenders,” said Mr Mitchell.

“This investment in Corrections is a reflection of National and ACT’s coalition agreement to increase funding for prison capacity.

“Through the Government’s savings programme, we have identified $442 million in savings over four years from Corrections. We’ve reinvested those resources in the frontline to as support Corrections to keep New Zealanders safe.”

As part of the investment, the Minister said the Government will deliver an 810-bed extension to Waikeria prison to ensure capacity, safety and security across the prison network.

“We will also deliver 685 new frontline staff at Corrections, including 470 corrections officers, who will be recruited and trained to respond to growing prisoner numbers.”

“Corrections’ frontline staff do an exceptional job managing violent and complex offenders. We’re investing in pay increases for those staff so Corrections can continue to attract, retain and train staff.

“In addition to getting violent criminals off the street, it’s important the right support is in place to help offenders break the cycle of offending and turn their lives around.

“That is why our Budget invests $78 million to extend rehabilitation programmes for the 45 per cent of prisoners who are on remand to access the support they need to turn their lives around.”

The Minister said the Government had a comprehensive plan to restore law and order and keep New Zealanders safe.

“That includes recruiting 500 additional frontline Police, giving them powers to crack down on gang offending and illegal firearms, bringing back Three Strikes, establishing military academies for youth offenders and bringing in tougher sentences.”

“Our Government is serious about restoring law and order. Our plan means that all New Zealanders can have confidence they will be safer in their homes, workplaces and communities,” said Mr Mitchell.

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