More money on prisoners but worse results

Taxpayers are spending more money on prisoners, but violent crime continues to rise, National Corrections spokesman Simon O’Connor said.

“New Zealand taxpayers are now spending $151,000 per inmate per year, an increase of over $30,000 per inmate from 2018/19.

“Overall, there was an increase of $139 million poured into the corrections system over the period between 2018/19 and 2020/21, despite fewer prisoners.

“At the same time, there has been a sharp drop in the number of inmates accessing rehabilitation services. The number of inmates with access to alcohol and drug programs alone fell from 6,311 in 2015/16 to 1,065 in 2019/20 – a decrease greater than the drop in inmate numbers.

“More money is spent, but we get worse results.

“Rehabilitation is a key way for prisoners to turn their lives around, but in 2019/20 the number of prisoners participating in rehabilitation programs fell to 2,399 from 5,845 in 2015/16.

“It is therefore not surprising that violent crime has increased by 21% since 2017, as reported by the Salvation Army, and that we have one of the highest recidivism rates in the OECD.

“It’s typical for a government that is adept at spending taxpayers’ money with no expectation of results.

“On top of that, Labor is taking a soft on crime approach which is clearly not working.

“Without effective rehabilitation, re-incarceration rates and violence will only escalate.”

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