April 20, 2020
JustSpeak calls for COVID amnesty
Justice advocacy group JustSpeak says Corrections’ approach to COVID-19 is undermining the Government’s prison reform programme.
The group is calling for people on remand and those with sentenced for low level non-violent crimes to be released.
It’s particularly concerned with the practice of putting new prisoners including those on remand into two weeks of solitary confinement when they arrive.
Director Tania Sawicki-Mead says the long-term results could be serious.
"You've got the cancellation of rehabilitation programmes which is often the thing that allows people to be eligible for parole. You've got the huge delays to trials which will mean whānau will likely spend a lot longer on remand. It's likely in the long term those things will lead to a growing in the prison population rather than a reduction which this Government says it wants to achieve," she says.
Tania Sawicki-Mead says there is now a lot of capacity in motels to house people on remand or in isolation as they wait to rejoin their whānau.
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