ACT is celebrating the passage of the Parole (Mandatory Completion of Rehabilitative Programmes) Amendment Bill through its first reading in Parliament today.

I’d like to thank all of my colleagues in ACT, National, New Zealand First, and Labour, who have seen the merit in this initiative, sending it to the Justice select committee where the public will have the chance to make submissions.

The Parole (Mandatory Completion of Rehabilitative Programmes) Amendment Bill will require prisoners to complete skills and rehabilitation programmes before they will be considered for parole.

Prisoners have time on their hands and, if they want early release, they should be required to use that time overcome potential barriers to employment post-release.

My Bill would stop any prisoner being eligible for parole if they had not completed a programme set in a mandated management plan under the Corrections Act. It would apply to every prisoner with a sentence of more than two months in prison, and could even speed up release in some circumstances.

We’re one step closer to a justice system in which prisoners will have a better chance of reintegrating into society and building a better life. As we know, successful reintegration, including employment, is crucial to prevent further victimisation of New Zealanders.

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