I had thought that the parole system had at least kept Burton in jail for a few years longer than the minimum, based on his life sentence for murder in 1992 meaning a non parole term of 10 years until 2002. But I find out from Kerre Woodham that he got three extra years for his prison break, so 2005 was pretty much the earliest he was eligible. They only delayed his release a few months – this is the problem with parole – people get released near automatically unless they have been stabbing prison guards etc. The balance of proof for parole needs to be changed so that one needs to have behaved exceptionally throughout your time in prison. One prison escape should rule out any chance of early parole. Also it seems that the Parole Board (according to Dom Post) only looks at the most recent behaviour (months rather than years) so it is relatively easy for prisoners to just pretend to be rehabilitated as they approach their parole eligibility date.Tags: New Zealand
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