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Labour must act on crime controlled from prisons

Hon. Tony Ryall MP
National Law and Order spokesman

6 April 2005

Labour must act on crime controlled from prisons

National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall, says urgent action is needed to stop crime being controlled from prisons.

He is commenting on an official Corrections Department document that warns of serious shortcomings in prison security. The report says that even though legislation is in place, the lack of 'monitoring of inmates' phone calls is a continued risk to the department's credibility'.

"It is a fact that large amounts of drug crime in particular are being organised from behind bars," Mr Ryall says.

"Any experienced policeman will verify that. This is being done with landlines and mobile phones.

"In 1999, the National Government passed a law to allow monitoring of inmates' phone calls. We would have bought this equipment the next financial year. Labour has delayed and delayed, worried about invading inmates privacy!

"Instead, simple call forwarding of the receiving phone has allowed inmates to ignore strict control of the phone numbers they can call.

"It is the same with mobile phones. There are cheap mobile phone blockers that work in a 30-metre radius that could stop criminals - like Scott Watson - using mobile phones. A major riot across 29 prisons in Brazil, which saw 8,000 people taken hostage, was organised using mobile phones. In America, mobile phones have been used to organise killings from behind bars.

"There's no rocket science here. The technology exists to block, jam or re-direct mobile phone calls.

"Labour would be better spending money to prevent crime from behind bars, instead of so much of the PC madness it loves at the moment.

"But, as Mr Tamihere suggested, Labour is not in touch with what worries ordinary people," Mr Ryall says.

Ends

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