The below is a letter to Phil Goff, submitted to us by a concerned member of the public, and the reply from Phil Goff

XXXXXXXXX (Confidential)
XXXXXXXXX (Confidential)
Friday 7 July, 2000

Phil Goff,
Minister of Justice,
Parliament Buildings,

Dear Mr Goff,

Today I read the Dominion "Violent criminals may end terms in home detention".
I am shocked and horrified by your proposals for home detention, my questions and feeling are as follows:-

1] Criminals are already being released far before their sentence has been completed.

2] Could you provide figures which show the continuing success of home detention?

3] Robson states that home detention could cover aggravated robbers and rapists "but only if they had shown clear signs of rehabilitation while behind bars".

Will you and Robson be accountable for all reoffending by those released for home detention?

4] "Controlled environment". Do you mean return them to their families that breed the lack of respect and violence into the criminals?

5] Mr Robson said 302 offenders had so far completed home detention and only a handful (non specific number} had reoffended. How would he know how many had reoffended? He is only quoting those who have been caught reoffending. I estimate that less than one third are caught.

6] Finally I quote from a rap sheet I have. In 1982 a young lad of 15 offended the victim an elderly War Vet. He was handled by the Maori Wardens as it was felt they would help him. This teen continued to offend thru til 1993 on a regular basis. He had 10 Alias'
Crimes included -

Non resident probation, corrective training and PD failed to work, why? He CHOSE to avoid all punishment given, just as he CHOSE to steal and commit crime in the community - I think short sentences and hard labour would have turned this person's life around. It is obvious that he was given every chance to turn his life around but chose not to.

It concerns me that you can even consider home detention as an option. Listen to the people, did Norm Withers petition mean so little to you? It saddens me to think that it may take the rape, murder or beating of a family member to change your line of thought.

Hopefully this will never happen to you, but I have found that rapists and murderers strike unexpectedly- no one invites them to enter their homes - do you not think it would be the ultimate insult to these people to consider home detention?

I do.

Yours sincerely,
XXXXXXXX (Confidential)

cc Brian Neeson
cc The Dominion

Phil Goff's reply below

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