Parolees less likely to reoffend, says report

By Ruth Berry

Offenders released on parole are less likely to reoffend and end up back in prison than those who are released without conditions, figures show, despite recent criticism of parole.

Concern about the parole system erupted after a spate of crimes allegedly committed by parolees this year, including the fatal shooting of Wainuiomata man Karl Kuchenbecker after Graeme Burton allegedly breached parole in December.

It was also revealed that Neil Kevin Paul, who dressed up as a police officer during a violent East Auckland home invasion last year, had been on parole for four months when he disappeared the day after the invasion.

The cases have sparked Opposition calls for a reform of the parole system.

But the Corrections Department's annual report, released late last year, reveal that those released on parole are less likely to reoffend than inmates released without parole.

The only offenders who have a lower risk of reoffending than parolees are those released into home detention, the figures show.

The overall reimprisonment rate a year after release is 27.7 per cent of all inmates and the reconviction rate is 41.1 per cent, says the report.

Of those released on parole, 22.6 per cent are reimprisoned within a year and 30.4 per cent are reconvicted.

The recidivism rate two years after release from prison increased in both categories, but again those on parole were less likely to reoffend.

Two years after release 39.2 per cent of all inmates were reimprisoned and 56.4 per cent reconvicted.

Of those released on parole two years on, 32.3 per cent were reimprisoned and 43.8 per cent were reconvicted.

Other trends reveal that reconviction rates decrease significantly as offenders age and that those convicted of dishonesty offences have the highest reconviction rates and sex offenders the lowest.

Males are more likely to be reconvicted, Pacific people are less likely to reoffend and Maori more likely, the report says.

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