“Remand or Bust?” – the prison problem

From a comment by Gezza:

A single legal change has caused massive growth in the prison muster.

Growth in New Zealand’s prison population accelerated from around 8500 in 2014 to around 10,500 in 2016

The recent spike can be traced back to changes to bail laws in 2013. Since then, people charged with violent, sex or drug crimes have to prove they pose no danger to the community to get bail. If they can’t, they stay behind bars.

The changes followed public shock over the 2011 killing of 18-year-old Christie Marceau. Her killer Akshay Anand Chand was on bail when he killed her. Chand was found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity.

When the bail law was changed, Labour said it was “a fairly soft measure” which would require a further 50 prison beds.

In fact, the number of prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing has almost doubled. And our prisons are bursting at the seams. It leaves Justice Minister Andrew Little with a tough decision. Roll back popular changes to the bail laws or build another expensive prison

“There’s no question our prison system is in chaos, and in crisis, at the moment” says Justice Minister Andrew Little, He says the Government has got to fix it up – and quickly. According to Mr Little Cabinet right now is looking at a number of ideas from both the Minister of Corrections, Kelvin Davis and the Minister of Police, Stuart Nash and he’s going to put some up as Minister of Justice.”


Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  24th May 2018

    Why are drug crimes included? That seems an obvious area to be more selective re risk.

  2. Zedd

     /  24th May 2018

    The issue is that the courts still seem to using prison as the easy option (if in doubt, lock em up) rather than the last possible one.. for SERIOUS crims, who do pose a harm to society.

    I keep hearing that ‘they no longer lock up ‘drug offenders’. Whilst it maybe true that they, mostly do not lock up ‘pot-smokers’, they have clamped down harder on growers, even small time/for personal use. Anything more than 1-2 plants is deemed ‘cultivation for supply’ even those called ‘green fairies’ (med-use) risk this charge.. go figure !

  3. Gezza

     /  24th May 2018

    I think we can probably take it from the relative paucity of comment that there is general support for the Government to do something effective to reduce the burgeoning prison population without causing undue harm to the public & we are all looking forward to seeing what the proposals from Messrs Davis, Nash and Little are as soon as possible.


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