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Electric fence the prisons

Tony Ryall National Corrections Spokesperson

30 December 2002

Electric fence the prisons

National's Corrections spokesman, Tony Ryall, is calling on the Government to electrify prison fencing to cut the number of prison breakouts.

"Razor wire fencing isn't working when prisoners are escaping from New Zealand prisons at the rate of over two a month. Power fencing could significantly reduce attempted and actual escapes," says Mr Ryall.

"There are too many dangerous criminals escaping from our nation's prisons. Our over-stretched police have a heavy enough workload without having to hunt down criminals they have already put behind bars.

"New Zealand's prison service doesn't like the idea that would-be escapees might by shocked by the non-lethal voltage. What I say to the politically correct prison service is this: that's the whole point...people don't like getting electric shocks so they won't breach the perimeter fence.

"Most states in Australia use power fencing for their correctional facilities. Charles Tomas, the project manager electronics for the South Australian Department for Correctional Services, Adelaide, says there's been a significant decline in both attempted escapes and actual escapes since power fencing was introduced.

"He also says that the big advantage of power fencing over razor wire is that an alarm is set off whenever the fence is attacked or violated.

"The irony is the power fencing technology is home-grown here in New Zealand by a company which has established itself as the major provider of power fencing systems and whose products are used by correctional institutions and military facilities the world over," says Mr Ryall.


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