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Prisoners' Easy Access To Telephones Unacceptable

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Police spokesman Ken Shirley has written to the Ministers of Police and Corrections urging the Government to fund and implement the monitoring of prison inmates’ telephone calls.

“I understand that Cabinet has already refused to fund such a scheme.

“However, all evidence suggests that significant crime is being organised from our prisons by inmates. While there is a nominal blanket ban on the use of cellphones by inmates, advice to the Law and Order Select Committee today by the Department of Corrections was that there is widespread abuse, with prison visitors smuggling cellphone into inmates,” said Mr Shirley.

“Inmates may call designated numbers on landlines but with modern technology using call divert and other devices, Corrections Department officials have no way of knowing who the inmates are speaking with.

“Reports prepared by the Department of Corrections and obtained under the Official Information Act show that Cabinet has refused funding to allow this programme to proceed. This is a short-sighted strategy by the Government, as the cost to society of the crimes organised from within prisons far outweighs the cost of the monitoring programme. The only other possible conclusion is that Corrections Minister Matt Robson finds the monitoring programme unacceptable on human rights grounds,” Mr Shirley said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.




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