7 Nov 2010

Convicted killer 'not safe enough to treat yet'

6:40 am on 7 November 2010

The judge who sentenced murderer George Baker to preventive detention says the inmate needs rehabilitation services that aren't available to him.

Baker killed Auckland teenager Liam Ashley, in a prison van in 2006.

On Friday, he was sentenced to preventive detention on other charges while in custody - a hostage siege at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo where he kidnapped an 82-year-old inmate, and a second attack on a prison van when he tried to kidnap a Corrections officer.

Justice Courtney praised Baker for doing woodwork and life-skills courses in prison, but said that is not the help he needs. Baker replied that anger-management courses aren't available to him until his final year in prison.

Justice Courtney told Baker he faces a Catch-22 situation, because it won't be safe to treat him until he gets his behaviour under control.

The court heard that Baker had told a psychiatrist that he would kill again if he could, whether he was in jail or released.

The Corrections Department has declined to comment on what services are available to high-risk prisoners.

The director of the Rethinking Crime and Punishment project, Kim Workman, says offenders often will not be wait-listed for rehabilitation programmes until they are in the final years of their sentences.

He says it can be unjust when the release of some prisoners is contingent on them having completed such a programme.