20 Sep 2009

Crime victims seek abolition of parole system

10:06 pm on 20 September 2009

More than 100 victims of serious crime, who gathered in Taupo for the weekend, have voted unanimously for an overhaul of the parole system.

The victims were attending the annual conference of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, and say that allowing an inmate the chance of parole before the end of his or her sentence should be abolished.

The offender should instead serve their whole sentence and when it's completed, the prisoner should be subject to a period of supervision.

The conference also called for the Government to support a private members bill which would keep repeat violent offenders behind bars.

The trust's national spokesperson, Garth McVicar, says it's ridiculous an offender's slate is wiped clean at the end of a sentence and there's no added penalty for re-offending.

Prisoner compensation

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is calling for the end of prisoner compensation.

The Prisoners and Victims Claims Act came into force in 2005 and allows prisoners to be compensated for breaches of their rights.

It also allows victims of compensated prisoners to claim for damages, from the money awarded to inmates.

Since the Act came into force, nine offenders have received compensation, totalling $59,995.89.

Six victims have made claims, with the payout for four of them totalling just $38,198.80.

The other two cases are yet to be resolved.

The Ministry of Justice also says, that in eight cases, outstanding restitution to victims totalling $28,418.13, has been deducted from compensation awarded to prisoners.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust says New Zealand has stopped holding offenders accountable for their crimes.