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The National Party is proposing compulsory education, training or employment for prisoners who are serving sentences of two years or more, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“Working prisons were introduced by National to get prisoners doing something productive. It is currently an opt-in system. We are proposing it becomes compulsory. 

“Working prisons provide people with the skills and opportunities they need so they’re able to become contributing members of society. Current estimates are about 59 per cent of prisoners participate in employment or industry training. This helps in achieving better reintegration into the community when they are released.

“There are a small number of prisoners who won’t be able to take part. This will include people with disabilities and those in maximum security - this is for the safety of prison officers. Maximum security prisoners make up less than two per cent of the prison muster.

“We have also announced today the Victims Notification Register should be opt-out, rather than something victims should have to sign up to. This policy was designed after I was contacted by a family who was unaware their brother’s murderer had been released from prison. It’s not fair or right that they didn’t know.

“National is also proposing Victim Impact Statements should be able to be read in court exactly as the victim has written them. Often judges present edited versions or won’t let them be read out at all. We believe victims should be fully involved in the court process and be able to have the final say.

“National is the party of law and order. We’re also the largest and most popularly supported party in Parliament. We’re doing the work in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020. We will release our full Law and Order Discussion Document on Tuesday.”

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