The Government is planning major changes to sentencing, focusing on rehabilitation over punishment in a bid to lower soaring prison populations, including scrapping the 'Three Strikes' law.
Documents released to Newshub Nation reveal advice to the Government on the complex needs of inmates, including shockingly high rates of mental health issues and low levels of literacy.
The documents say less than a third of prisoners have a level of literacy "adequate for everyday life in a complex society", and 77 percent have been victims of violence.
Among female inmates, over half have been sexually abused, and half have a lifetime diagnosis of PTSD.
Overall, 91 percent of prisoners have a lifetime diagnosis of some form of mental health issue.
The advice also states that prisoners are four times more likely to attempt suicide than an average New Zealander.
The Government has plans to repeal the Three Strikes law, and the documents released to Newshub Nation indicate other changes are likely to be made to sentencing, bail and parole laws.
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Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
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Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)