Plans for more cops will worsen prison bed shortage

  • 12/06/2018

Documents leaked to Newshub show the Government will need almost 1000 more prison beds if it proceeds with its plans to boost police numbers.

It's already struggling to cope with inmate numbers and will on Wednesday announce plans to expand one of the country's biggest prisons.

Waikeria, where the last Government wanted a mega-prison, will on Wednesday likely have a mini-version of this prison expansion announced.

New Zealand jails are currently at bursting point, with too many prisoners and not enough beds.

The Government sees the solution as more cops on the streets.

"Once the 1800 more police are rolled out into our communities, I believe our prison population will drop," Police Minister Stuart Nash said.

However, that's not what a Cabinet paper from the Police Minister's office leaked to Newshub says.

It says more cops mean more prisoners.

The Ministry of Justice estimates 650 more beds are necessary. Corrections says that figure may be up to 900.

"The Government's policy in this area was already incompetent and clumsy, but you add in this and it's a complete shambles in criminal justice," National leader Simon Bridges said.

According to the paper, police think there are difficulties in accurately predicting the impact on prisons.

"There are differing views. I have a look at all the advice that's put in front of me, balance it up, and come to my conclusion," Mr Nash said.

On Monday the first of the Government's major justice reforms fell over. New Zealand First wouldn't support repealing the three strikes law after the justice minister thought they were on site.