Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has created a culture of leniency in our prison system which puts prisoners ahead of victims and public safety, National’s Corrections spokesperson David Bennett says.

“New Zealanders confidence in Corrections will rightly be eroding after revelations that dangerous prisoners with extreme views have been able to send inflammatory letters.

“The alleged Christchurch gunman is arguably the most high-profile and dangerous prisoner New Zealand has ever seen. New Zealanders should have been able to assume that Corrections, under the guidance of their Minister, would have ensured every interaction he had was recorded.

“The alleged gunman’s letter, sent to a Russian address, that set off this train of events reinforces the attitude of the Government. Whether it’s giving prisoners the right to vote, to being on the side of prisoners in their assaults on prison officers, the Government has set a culture of acceptance of prisoner demands and a lack of authority in the system. 

“New Zealanders will be surprised to hear that the man accused of killing 51 people is allowed outside daily to exercise, is delivered a range of news articles each day, and is allowed visitors and phone calls.

“We’ve now heard that another white supremacist prisoner had also been an active writer publishing his intolerable views. Overseas advice given to Corrections on how to manage such situations hadn’t been followed.

“The Minister is responsible for this culture. It is his creation. Instead of being vigilant in this high profile case, we have seen the opposite. We have seen a culture of the prisoner is right and not the system. This fundamentally reflects the Minister’s view that no one should be in prison. He has repeatedly said he wants fewer prisoners, but has no plan to reduce crime.

“The Government has tried to cover up the failures over the past few days with apologies, unnecessary law reforms and dumping of information. There are laws already in place that Corrections should have followed but didn’t.

“The Minister can apologise all he wants but it won’t fix his settings of a prisoner friendly Corrections system.”

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