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Power: E-Bail Saves Only 26 Prison Beds

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

30 July 2008 - Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show Labour's electronic bail scheme is still allowing more people accused of serious crimes to remain in the community who would otherwise be behind bars, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power. Mr Power is releasing figures from a briefing paper which show that despite one of the aims of electronic bail being to save 120 prison beds a year, just 26 were saved in its first year.

"From that regard, electronic bail is an abject failure.

"But even worse is the admission from a briefing to Justice CEOs that electronic bail is not being granted to low-level accused, but rather to those accused of serious crimes.

"That's because low-level accused have a quicker turnaround in terms of when they go to court, so they don't spend long enough in custody to make it worthwhile to apply for e-bail.

"Labour's electronic bail scheme flies in the face of Helen Clark's statement, when launching the Effective Interventions package in 2006, that besides being designed to 'address the fast growing rate of imprisonment' it would also 'make our communities safer'.

"How can that be, when latest figures show that one in five people on e-bail have breached it, and one in ten simply run away?

"Something is very wrong when it costs $3.2 million a year to run e-bail, to save 26 beds, but it would have cost $2.4 million a year to keep those 26 people in prison for a year - and public safety wouldn't have been compromised."

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