Quite how the Government thinks it can reduce the prison population without reducing serious crime is beyond comprehension, National’s Justice spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“The Government is deluded at best and soft at worst if it thinks that it doesn’t need a crime reduction target in order to reduce the prison population.

“People aren’t sent to prison for the hell of it. There is a very high threshold – a person has to have committed a very serious crime or be a repeat offender to end up in prison.

“So it was startling to hear the Chief Executives of both the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections yesterday admit that their agencies are no longer working towards the previous Government’s target of 10,000 fewer serious crimes by 2021.

“Instead, they are now being instructed by the new Government to focus only on a target of reducing the prison population by 30 per cent over 15 years.

“In light of the Justice Minister’s statements to media in the weekend and the Prime Minister’s comments in the House this week, it appears the Government’s approach to meeting its target may revolve simply around loosening bail, sentencing and parole laws which could place the community at real risk.

“Surely success must be measured by there being fewer crimes and fewer victims. But it seems the Government thinks it’s more important that there are fewer people in prison, regardless of how serious their crimes may be.

“Letting serious criminals out of prison so that the Government can boast about meeting its target will be of no comfort to the victims that these offenders will surely rack up when they’re let loose on the public.”

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