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Govt response to Smith/Traynor review

Hon Amy Adams

Minister of Justice

Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Minister of Corrections

1 October 2015

Media statement
Govt response to Smith/Traynor review

Justice Minister Amy Adams and Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga have responded to the independent inquiry into matters surrounding the escape of Phillip Smith/Traynor.

The inquiry noted that while Mr Smith’s escape did not indicate fundamental problems with the overall system, it did find there were shortcomings in various agencies’ systems and processes.

The Government accepts, or accepts in principle, 34 of the 39 recommendations. The remaining five recommendations raise wider issues which the Government will consider as part of this work.

Given the issues raised involve multiple agencies, Minister Adams is leading the Government response and related work programmes.

“The report highlighted vulnerabilities that need to be addressed including the way we deal with identity and information sharing across the justice sector, and other related agencies such as Customs and Internal Affairs,” Ms Adams says.

“A number of refinements across agencies have already been made which will significantly reduce the likelihood of a similar occurrence happening again.”

The key issues identified in the report were:

• Risk management – inadequate monitoring given the offender’s profile

• Temporary release – shortcomings in approving and informing sponsors and in monitoring the temporary release

• Identity management – official identity is not always or consistently established

• Information sharing – insufficient sharing between agencies of offender identity information

Mr Lotu-Iiga says changes have already been made within Corrections to help remedy some of these issues.

“High risk prisoners are subject to more intense scrutiny and comprehensive risk assessment,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“Corrections has also made the temporary release process more rigorous.”

Ms Adams says, “Among the remaining recommendations, there is the opportunity to significantly improve the quality of identity information held in the justice sector. It’s important that these solutions are well considered and fit-for-purpose and therefore we’ll be taking further time to fully consider the best way to respond to the issues the report raises.”

Attached: Government response to Smith/Traynor Inquiry

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