24 Feb 2018

Bail law changes led to prison population increase - Little

3:19 pm on 24 February 2018

The Justice Minister is looking at changes to the bail laws he says have been a cause of the spiralling prison population.

Andrew Little

Andrew Little said the government is clearly going to have to look at the current bail laws. Photo: RNZ/Richard Tindiller

The previous National government toughened the bail laws in 2013.

As of September, there were 3000 prisoners on remand, compared with 1800 in 2012.

The Minister, Andrew Little, said the Labour-led government wants to reduce the prison population.

He's called for official advice on the bail laws, he told Newshub Nation.

"We are going to have to have a look at this because what is happening and the consequences of that change in the bail laws is we're getting way more people banged up in prison, and they haven't even been convicted yet, they're there on remand, than was intended when that bail law was first introduced.

"Now I'll have to get advise from officials and experts on that, I haven't got that advice, but that is clearly an area we're clearly going to have to have a look at."

Ahead of the election, Labour called for a bi-partisan target to reduce the total prison population by 30 percent over the next 15 years.

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