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The National Party is today proposing tougher measures for prisoners to get parole so that the privilege is not abused, National’s Corrections spokesperson David Bennett says.

“Parole is not a right. If you have committed a crime and you are sentenced to prison you shouldn’t rely on early release unless you’ve done the hard yards to deserve it.

“National is proposing a convicted murderer who refuses to reveal the location of a body should be denied parole. Family and friends who have lost a loved one to murder have been through enough. Not knowing where the body of their loved one is and not being able to lay them to rest is cruel. A similar law is currently being considered in the UK.

“We’re also proposing offenders who don’t have NCEA Level 2 literacy and numeracy requirements shouldn’t be eligible for early release. People who have NCEA Level 2 are more likely to go on to lead better lives and are less likely to commit further crimes.

“The majority of prisoners have limited education or work experience. A high percentage of prisoners have no formal qualifications and less than half of them were in paid work before going to prison.

“Upskilling prisoners will ensure they have a better chance of not returning to prison. This is part of National’s Social Investment Approach, which targets investment in people’s lives where it’s most needed.

“We believe there should be increased support for prisoners when they are released back into the community so they are less likely to victimise more people. We’ll also look at whether prisoners on remand should have better access to treatment for mental health and addiction earlier.

“National is 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’re also the party of law and order. The current Government wants to lower the prison population but has no plan to reduce crime. We will ensure criminals are punished for committing crimes, but also that prisoners are rehabilitated so they go on to lead productive lives.” 

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