The Minister of Corrections , Judith Collins, says Public Protection Orders should be used more by the courts to keep sex offenders away from potential victims in the community.
Speaking to Jessica Mutch on TV One’s Q+A programme, Mrs Collins said that in cases such as one publicised today, where a young mother of three has a sex offender living behind her house in Mangere, Corrections tried to get a Public Protection Order for him, but the High Court felt he did not meet the criteria.
“He does have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week monitors and minders with him. He does have GPS monitoring on him. He is allowed out once a week with his minders and GPS to do shopping and to go back into the house, but unfortunately, he’s served his sentence, he’s on the most intensive form of monitoring that Corrections can get, and they’ve been turned down for a public protection order,” she said.
“So Corrections, I believe, are very much the meat in the sandwich, although I very much feel for families who feel that they’ve got this child-sex offender next door to them.”
Mrs Collins says the Government was building a community inside the prison grounds at Christchurch Men’s Prison in order to house people who had completed their sentences but were deemed too risky to be living back in the community.
“But … the courts have to allow that to happen, allow us to have these people placed there. So Corrections doesn’t just decide where people are; they’re actually directed by the courts and the parole board.”
The message is clear: the tools are already there, but the Courts aren’t using them. On the one hand, it is always good to see the Court act conservatively when depriving someone of their rightful liberty. On the other, when all professionals and the majority of the Parole people are saying someone is a disaster waiting to happen, putting them into the too hard basket for Corrections to handle isn’t helpful.
The public are right to not want a “live” threat to move in next door. The Courts have the answer.