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Minister congratulates Corrections on ICT win

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Corrections

28 October 2009
Media Statement
Minister congratulates Corrections on ICT win

Corrections Minister Judith Collins tonight hailed an award-winning cellphone blocking project by the Department of Corrections as a major contribution to public safety.

The Department tonight won the 2009 Excellence in the Use of ICT in Government Award for the project which blocks cellphone signals from the country’s 20 prisons and corrections institutions.

Each entry in the awards was evaluated, among other things, on the extent to which they made a difference and benefited the public.

“This is the first project of its type in the world where cellphone signals have been successfully blocked from prisons,” Ms Collins said.

“Until recently, we had a serious problem with prisoners using smuggled cellphones to run their criminal businesses, intimidate people and even plan escapes while they were behind bars.

“This technology has made the public safer by severely limiting prisoners’ ability to conduct criminal activity from within our prisons.

“The challenges in blocking cellphone signals from prisons while not disrupting signals to nearby residents was immense.

"I congratulate the Department on this award. This project is a major contribution to public safety and a great example of Kiwi can-do spirit.”

The project was a joint venture between the Department, Telecom and Vodafone.

Other countries, including Britain, Germany, Thailand, France and Australia have expressed an interest in the technology.

ENDS

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