24 Jun 2015

Re-offending reduction saves millions - Minister

1:29 pm on 24 June 2015

Taxpayers are millions of dollars better off because of a marked reduction in a prisoner re-offending rate, the Corrections Minister says.

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga (file) Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Sam Lotu-Iiga said there had been a 9 percent drop in the re-offending rate of prisoners who had served two years or less.

He told Parliament's Law and Order Select Committee this morning that equated to nearly $50 million dollars in savings.

"For every 1 percent in reduction across the board you will get $5.5 million of taxpayer saving.

"So it really shows that if you invest in offenders migrational transition into public life you can and will make huge and substantial savings long-term."

He said the Government had set a target of reducing re-offending by 25 percent by 2017.

Mr Lotu-Iiga also said the monitoring of private prison operator Serco was above board.

The company runs Mt Eden prison and the newly opened Auckland South Corrections Facility at Wiri.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis asked how the public could be confident in the way the prisons were being run given they were monitored by the Corrections Department, which had a vested interest in them doing well.

Mr Lotu-Iiga told the select committee today he was confident the department was holding Serco to account.

"It's not an internal review, it's the department writing [the] monthly, quarterly and annual reports that they file, and that's not an internal report, that's a report they must file with the department to show that they are performing to the terms of the contract."

Mr Lotu-Iiga said the Ombudsman and Auditor-General also provided oversight.

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