Corrections to get $17M boost

Corrections to get $17M boost

Corrections is about to get a $17.6 million boost in funding from the Government because of bigger than expected growth in the prison population.

In her first major announcement as Corrections Minister, Judith Collins says the money will also help take care of the cost pressures associated with an increase in inmates and enhancements to electronic monitoring.

The Corrections Department has had a tumultuous year dealing with private prison operator Serco.

The company had been running the Mt Eden remand prison until July when problems at the jail forced Corrections to take over management.

It also decided to cancel the 10-year contract early because of Serco's poor running of the prison.

Ms Collins says while inroads have been made in reducing crime, the number of prisoners has been increasing "consistently above forecasts".

Of the allocated money, $15 million will go toward addressing prisoner population growth, while the rest will improve electronic monitoring.

Corrections has already started a 24-hour GPS Immediate Response Team as well as an Electronic Monitoring Assurance Team.

Funding to monitor returning criminals from Australia will be considered as part of next year's Budget.

The number of prisoners reached a record high of 9171 on November 30 this year, and is currently at 8968.

In October, the prison muster was 800 higher than at the same projected point in the 2011 Justice Sector forecast – that's equal to a large-sized prison.

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