Dr Parmjeet Parmar
This week we have seen the government’s soft on crime attitude has hit an all new low.
For a start, Corrections released a prisoner on bail after he staged a hunger strike for 25 days.
Instead of dealing with the offender inside prison, Corrections took the easy option.
As a result, we now have a recidivist offender with an extensive criminal record living in our community.
Corrections has set a dangerous precedent and has essentially opened the floodgates, what will prisoners try next to force Corrections’ hand?
What is even worse is that the prisoner himself did not even think that he should have been released. What does that say about the state of our justice system under this government?
This is just one example of the Government’s soft on crime attitude filtering down, and this time, it is Corrections reacting to it.
No voting power please
If releasing a prisoner on bail because he went on hunger strike was not bad enough, then the government introduced a Bill that will allow prisoners to vote.
Losing the right to vote is a consequence of serious offending, and National has been very clear that we will oppose any change to the law on this.
It is difficult to be sentenced to prison, and you have to have committed serious crimes to get there.
Prisoners who have received sentences of up to three years are not petty criminals.
They are people who have committed serious assaults, robberies, family violence and sexual offences.
Losing the right to vote is consistent with the loss of other freedoms when going to prison.
Once offenders come out of prison and have re-joined society then they have this right returned to them.
Going to prison is a punishment, it should be treated as such.
Instead, this government is intent on making it seem like a holiday, even releasing prisoners early if they become too difficult to deal with.
But with this sort of behaviour happening, it is no wonder other criminals are feeling emboldened under the current Government.
We have seen a sharp increase in gang membership as well, since October 2017 almost 1600 more people have joined gangs, with this number continuing to grow.
It is making excuses for drug use, we saw last year that drug dealers who could prove their addiction caused the crimes could receive a 30 per cent discount on their sentence.
If you commit a crime you should not get off easily.
This is not fair on victims. They have not asked to be put in this position and we should be putting them before criminals.
National has always been very clear, we unapologetically stand on the side of victims, and a National Government would ensure victims feel as though they have received justice.
It is becoming obvious at the election this year there is a stark difference between a Labour, Greens, NZ First soft on crime Government clearly on the side of offenders, and a National Government that is tough on crime and puts victims at the heart of our justice system.
Dr Parmjeet Parmar is a Member of Parliament on National List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Research, Science and Innovation and Associate Spokesperson for Economic Development.