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Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has today confirmed that the Government is looking at relaxing bail and sentencing laws for serious and violent criminals, and interfering with police prosecutions to reduce the prison population, National’s Corrections Spokesperson David Bennett says.

“After months of the Government avoiding questions about how it intends to meet its prison population reduction target, Mr Davis has clarified that it is considering making it easier for serious and violent offenders to get bail and harder for them to go to prison in the first place.

“When asked a very straight question about whether the Ardern-Peters Government is considering making changes to bail and sentencing laws for serious and violent criminals, Mr Davis confirmed it was looking into it.

“What’s more, Mr Davis also confirmed he was willing to speak to the Police Minister about interfering in operational matters to stop Police prosecuting criminals to try and reduce the prison population.

“The reason we let the Police decide who they should prosecute is that they are best placed to know who poses a real risk to society and safety.

“The fact Mr Davis is willing to direct who police prosecutors should and should not prosecute suggests he is more concerned with Labour’s ideological crusade than protecting the public from people who pose real harm.

“This is all in the name of trying to avoid the decision of whether or not to build new beds at Waikeria Prison. Given there are less than 200 prison beds left throughout New Zealand, the Ardern-Peters Government is yet again putting ideology ahead of the protection of the community.

“Public safety and reducing crime is one of National’s top priorities. It is very worrying that the Ardern-Peters Government has decided it is willing to gamble the public’s safety for its own ideologies.”

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