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Nearly one year to ban gaming consoles in prisons

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

13 December 2007

Nearly one year to ban gaming consoles in prisons

The Corrections Department has finally developed a policy that bans gaming consoles from prisons – the best part of a year after National exposed that it was buying them, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing an answer from Corrections Minister Phil Goff.

“Why has it taken this long to develop a policy banning these games?

“In October last year they said they were developing a policy but it has taken them at least 10 months to do it.

“I would have thought it would have taken five minutes.

“Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Corrections does not believe prisons are there to punish people – that sending them there is enough of a punishment in itself.

“The revelation this week by assistant general manager Bryan McMurray that ‘people don’t go to prison to be punished’, gives an idea of Corrections’ attitude to how it treats prisoners, and would have come as a complete surprise to the public.

“I imagine Corrections would still be buying consoles for prisoners if National had not raised the issue.

“This was a department that didn’t have enough funds to establish a sufficient number of beds in drug and alcohol units, but was able to find nearly $5,000 for Playstations and Xbox’s and 58 games that contributed nothing towards rehabilitating prisoners. In fact, some of them would have done the opposite.

“They included violent role-playing computer games where characters fight with their fists, baseball bats, rakes, stakes, samurai swords, handguns, shotguns, and machine guns.”

Answers to parliamentary questions

19385 (2007). Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (22/11/2007): Further to his response to question for written answer 11770 (2007), has this policy been developed; if not, when is it expected to be complete?
Corrections Minister Phil Goff replied: Electronic games consoles were removed from prisons in October 2006. I am advised a policy prohibiting the use of Playstations and other electronic games by prisoners has been developed.

11770 (2007). Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (4/7/2007): Has the department developed a policy on the use of Playstations and other electronic games by prisoners; if so, what is that policy and when was it developed?
Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor replied: The Department is currently developing its policy on electronic game consoles. In the interim, electronic game consoles and games have been removed from prisons.

14209 (2006): Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (11 October) Do any prisons contain playstations, X-Box, or other computer games for prisoner use; if so, which prisons and how many at each? Corrections Minister Hon Damien O'Connor replied: In New Zealand prisons there are eleven game consoles: Waikeria – three. Rimutaka – seven. Northland Regional Corrections Facility – one. Playstations, X-Box and computer games have been removed from prisoners' use pending development of a national policy.

14210 (2006): Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (11 October): Do any prisons contain playstations, X-Box, or other computer games for prisoner use; if so, at what cost? Corrections Minister Hon Damien O'Connor replied: The cost to the Department of Corrections for eight of the eleven gaming consoles in prisons was $2,034.42; two consoles were bought using prisoner funds and one was donated. Playstations, X-Box and computer games have been removed from prisoners' use pending development of a national policy.

14211 (2006) Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (11 October): Do any prisons contain games for playstations, X-Box, or other computer games for prisoner use; if so, which prisons and how many at each? Corrections Minister Hon Damien O'Connor replied: Games for consoles are at:
Rimutaka Prison – 33. Waikeria Prison – 19. Northland Regional Corrections Facility – six. Playstations, X-Box and computer games have been removed from prisoners' use pending development of a national policy.

14212 (2006) Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (11 October): Do any prisons contain games for playstations, X-Box, or other computer games for prisoner use; if so, at what cost? Corrections Minister Hon Damien O'Connor replied: The cost to the Department of Corrections for computer games was $2,648.28. Playstations, X-Box and computer games have been removed from prisoners' use pending development of a national policy.

ENDS

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