Topics: Elections, Prison

National push to make public prisons full working prisons by 2017

By Heeni Brown
National reveals policy for inmates

The National Party takes pride in the saying the nation's crime rate is at a 35-year all time low, and in an attempt to further reduce crime, they are pushing to make all public prisons full working prisons by 2017.

So what does that mean?  Making sure there are drug and alcohol treatments rehabilitation programmes and making sure they are provided work experience, training and education.

These are the major issues National have identified and addressing when it comes to rehabilitating offenders.

“We know at some point pretty much every prisoner is going back into the community, and if we can lift their skills and have got a much greater chance of them actually ultimately getting a job and fitting back into normal life away from crime,” says John Key.

“Good example of that is Rolleston where prisoners are working on houses in the red zone and turning those into houses for people to live in and ultimately it's a win-win, people get to live in those homes and people get to earn those skills.”

Right now, there are three working prisons, where every eligible prisoner will have a structured 40-hour a week timetable.

The ultimate aim is to make all 16 prisons working prisons by 2017.

On top of the announcements made, National talks about a partnerships with the Māori Party.

However Sharples obviously won’t be in Parliament, so the question is, who is likely to fill his ministerial portfolios?

“Ultimately we'd have to sit down and talk to them.  Obviously Te Ururoa is their leader and he's a very very solid individual,” says John Key.

So, it looks like National's front door remains wide open to the Māori Party.  However, that will still depend on the results of this year’s elections.