You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

English doubtful about 'prisoner reward'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/02/2017

Teaching prisoners to read, write and drive is a good idea but rewarding them for completing courses by cutting their sentences needs "a bit of discussion", Prime Minister Bill English says.

ACT leader David Seymour announced his party's prisoner reward policy on Saturday, saying 48 per cent of inmates were returning to jail within four years.

"A large chunk of the prison population simply lacks the skills to lead normal, productive lives," he said.

"It's no wonder they return to crime after leaving prison."

Under ACT's policy, prisoners completing literacy, numeracy and driving courses would earn a reduction in their sentence.

It wouldn't apply to the worst violent and sexual offenders.

Asked whether he supported the policy, Mr English told reporters the government was already investing heavily in prisoner rehabilitation.

"It's something we could look at," he said.

"I think the bit that needs a bit of discussion is reducing the sentences.

"The New Zealand public has a pretty fixed and firm view that criminals should be locked up for as long as possible - I think you would need a fairly broad consensus that it's a good thing to actually see sentences reduced."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon