Constant watch on Kurariki criticised

The post-prison treatment of young killer Bailey Kurariki is undoing all the promising work accomplished while he was inside, a penal reform campaigner says.

Kurariki was 12 when involved in the killing of pizza delivery man Michael Choy in 2001.

He was jailed for seven years for manslaughter and released last May, four months before his sentence ended.

Kurariki was back in court last week to face three charges of breaching his parole conditions. He spat at, and lashed out at photographers as he left the court.

He also faced charges relating to parole breaches last year, but they ended up being thrown out.

Rethinking Crime and Punishment director Kim Workman said yesterday that the last two years of Kurariki's sentence in the Maori Focus Unit at Hawkes Bay Prison had given him a nurturing, supportive environment.

Mr Workman said Kurariki left prison "full of hope and with clear goals for the future", but the intense parole supervision he faced was undoing the good work.

"The lack of consistency between the prison and parole regimes was a recipe for failure."

Mr Workman said international research showed intensive parole supervision was more ineffective than boot camps and "scared straight" programmes.

There had been an over-reaction to Kurariki's first alleged parole breach and a lack of support or investigation of the facts surrounding it.

He said Kurariki's behaviour towards the media last week was not excusable - but understandable. He had been tailed and secretly photographed since his release, and the photos had been displayed to the nation.

"That behaviour, coupled with regular public entreaties from the Sensible Sentencing Trust to put him back in prison, are all burdens he must overcome."

Mr Workman said Kurariki now faced an uphill battle to succeed in his efforts to reform.

Mr Choy's mother, Rita Croskery, has been less forgiving.

She said last week that Kurariki's behaviour outside court showed he had not changed his ways and that he had been given more than enough chances.

"I just feel he is never going to learn," she said.

"They let him off the hook all the time. They need harsher punishment for these people."

- NZPA

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