Rodney MP Mark Mitchell’s Members’ Bill, drawn from the ballot today, seeks to provide another mechanism to support Corrections in ensuring offenders comply with their community sentences.
“I’m delighted this bill has been drawn from the ballot and will be debated at a first reading,” Mr Mitchell says.
The Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payment for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill proposes to withhold benefit payments from offenders who repeatedly breach the conditions of their community sentences, once all other options for gaining their compliance, short of prosecution, have been exhausted.
“This bill is another tool to support Corrections to do their job, to ensure compliance of recalcitrant offenders in breach of their community sentences. The proposed changes will offer both an additional deterrent and means of enforcement.
“This builds on National’s welfare reforms, which ensured an offender with an outstanding warrant for arrest now has their benefit suspended until they clear the warrant. This process between Corrections and Work and Income could be extended to include those offenders who repeatedly fail to comply with their community sentence,” Mr Mitchell says.
Around 35,000 offenders commence community sentences every year. Of this a number can be non-compliant with their community sentences.