• Video: ACT will increase prison beds, but not all in one area, says justice spokesperson

Video: ACT will increase prison beds, but not all in one area, says justice spokesperson

ACT will increase prison beds by 500, but that does not mean it will be all in one region like Hawke’s Bay, says the party’s justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

This comes as Labour’s Tukituki MP Anna Lorck Anna Lorck says that ACT wants to build another 500 prison beds a year for the next four years.

“That's about 2000 more prison beds. And our regional prison has about 40 hectares of Corrections land around it. And when I asked about the risk to Hawke's Bay to becoming a mega prison, the ACT leader said that that was a matter for Corrections.”

“And I don't think it's good enough to hide behind Corrections on this. We do not need a bigger mega prison built in Hawke's Bay because we've got enough to deal with, the social challenges that come with being a regional prison area already. I want to build more hospital beds, not prison beds.”

However McKee the extra beds would not necessarily go into one area or one prison.

“We need to be able to be sustainable if we are going to create that line in the sand.”

“I ask our communities, are you going to be more frightened of more prisoners in a prison? Or are you going to be more frightened of violent criminals being out in the community? And I think that's what they need to weigh up.”

“The difference with ACT is that we want to offer corrections rehabilitation, meaning people cannot get out on parole unless they rehabilitate. That also means opening up the rehabilitation services so that those that have specific needs can have those needs addressed.”

McKee says there are people in prison at the moment who don't know how to read and write and others who do not have a driver’s licence.

“So if we can get in there and say, ‘Well, hey, we're going to teach you how to read and write,’ that could be the difference between getting a job or not. Getting a driver licence could mean the difference between getting a job or not. If we can give people an opportunity to better themselves in prison, then we're actually doing justice to the name of Corrections.”

McKee says that “iInstead of just putting people in there to not learn, to become a part of a university of crime, instead of being part of a university of life skills”.