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New Rules Ensure Prisons Safe for Visiting Children

For Immediate Release 29 August 2016

New Rules Ensure Prisons Safe for Visiting Children

New rules for children visiting prisoners will ensure children’s safety is paramount. The new rules come into effect on 1 September 2016 and will require that all visits to prisons by children under 16 are pre-approved by their guardian and Corrections.

“Corrections supports safe and appropriate contact between parents and their children, however, it has a duty of care to ensure that the interests of children are protected while they are visiting prisons,” says Neil Beales, Chief Custodial Officer.

To do that effectively, Corrections needs to know who the children are and how they are connected to the prisoner they are visiting. It also wants to make sure the child’s guardian has given permission for the visit. This will help support prisoners to stay connected with their families while keeping visits safe and beneficial for all parties.

The new rules will require a prisoner wanting visits from a child under 16 to initiate the visitor approval process. As long as there are no court orders prohibiting contact, permission will be sought from the child’s guardian. If they agree, each child visitor application will then be reviewed individually by Corrections.

If certain arrangements need to be put in place to ensure safe and appropriate contact happens, the Department will do that. If it is determined, however, that contact may place a child at risk of harm, it will also take the necessary action to keep that child safe.

“Protecting children is our collective responsibility. We want to do everything possible to safeguard the children coming into our sites. That includes ensuring that their contact with prisoners is safely managed. Corrections supports visits that are safe for everyone,” Mr Beales says.

People seeking more information should contact Corrections staff at the respective prison or visit www.corrections.govt.nz


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