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Prisoner transfers should be made safer now

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

6 September 2006

Prisoner transfers should be made safer now

Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor should already be making urgent changes to the process surrounding the transfer of young prisoners, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

"There are some basic changes that can be made immediately to make the process safer - he does not need to wait for five inquires into the Liam Ashley tragedy to report back.

"It is imperative that the Minister of Corrections changes the form used when at-risk prisoners are being moved.

"This form is meant to identify the risk categories for each prisoner, so when they are passed from one agency to another, everyone knows what is going on.

"But at present the form does not show a prisoner's age, despite the fact that the Corrections-Chubb contract says prisoners under 20 are considered to be at risk and must be segregated, unless Corrections decides otherwise, and when the law says that where practicable, prisoners under 18 should not be transferred with older prisoners.

"There is no good reason why Damien O'Connor needs to wait for the findings of the five inquiries before taking action.

"He can move today to get this process cleared up while the inquiries are pending so the issue of age at the point of transfer is clear.
"He rightly moved very fast to drop the 'where practicable' proviso on keeping prisoners under 18 separate from adults until the outcome of the inquiries are known, so he should move on this as well."

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  • Prisoner transfer form
  • ENDS

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