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Minister Puts In Big Budget Bids For Rehab And Parole Officers

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Judith Collins
Judith Collins

Wellington, March 29 NZPA - Corrections Minister Judith Collins says she has asked for substantially more money to improve rehabilitation rates and the parole service.

"We've got to put a far better effort into rehabilitation and this government has promised to double the spaces available for drug rehabilitation," she said today on TV One's new Q&A programme.

"There is a very substantial budget bid in."

Ms Collins said she was also bidding for more money in the May 28 budget for probation officers.

"That's also substantial...we have to have that parole service working really well because they deal with a lot of community-based sentences," she said.

"Unless we want to keep locking people up for longer and longer times ... we have to have to working extremely well."

The parole service has caused problems for Ms Collins since she became a minister -- as it has for the department's chief executive Barry Matthews.

A report by Auditor-General Kevin Brady, released last month, identified serious failings.

One of the reasons that has been given for that was staff shortage.

While the Government has put a cap on the total number of public service employees, it has exempted the Prison Service.

Finance Minister Bill English is expected to deliver a very tight budget because revenue has slumped during the recession.

But the Government has put a high priority on public safety and Ms Collins is likely to get what she has asked for.

NZPA PAR pw mgr

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