Corrections Department

Simple low-cost changes can lower prison suicides, but will they be implemented?

THE CORONER may have found a way to drastically reduce the country’s high prison suicide rate – but whether Corrections moves on his recommendations remains to be seen.

More prisoners are killing themselves than ever before with the suicide rate in New Zealand prisons now around 11 times higher than in the general population.

In the past five years alone there have been 31 suicides and at least a further 100 failed attempts at prisons around the country.

The suicides were spread among 14 prisons with seven – or 20 percent –carried out at Christchurch Men’s Prison, five at Rimutaka Prison, and three each at Auckland Prison, Northland Region Corrections Facility, Waikeria Prison and Whanganui Prison.

Bradley Steven Twidle is one of those 31 inmates who committed suicide while in the official custody and care of Corrections. He took his own life in December 2013 after asking to be segregated from a man who had been convicted of sexually assaulting him.

A police investigation into Twidle’s death found that he’d worked in the prison laundry, where he was considered a good worker, on the morning of December 6, 2013.

However, when a prison worker came to his cell to get him to work he’d appeared “slightly distracted” and was twice asked to get moving. Read more »

A newspaper harps on about Serco

A newspaper maintains its position of championing the criminals and the unions, while attacking the government and police.

Serco has been forgiven $620,000 of financial penalties after being issued performance notices by the Corrections Department since it took over private management of the Mt Eden Corrections Facility in August 2011.

Over the same period, Serco has forfeited $1.4 million in penalties to Corrections.

Figures released by Corrections show that penalties were very high in its early operating days, then dropped away, but have dramatically picked up again.

The $620,000 in forgiven fines comprises $275,000 in penalties that were withdrawn and $375,000 for cases in which the performance notice was upheld but Corrections decided not to deduct the penalty.

Among the latter group of cases upheld but no deductions made was a $100,000 penalty in relation to a breach of contract over Serco’s handling of safety razors.

Green MP David Clendon said the notice for the razor blades was for a serious breach – giving prisoners razors but not taking them back again .

“This is an extremely serious failure that put the lives of staff and inmates at risk,” he said.   Read more »

Red Radio turns against the tide: exposes Corrections just as bad as Serco

The Labour Party/union-led and main stream media-fueled attack on private prison operator Serco has not seen any balancing comment except on this blog.  Rather surprisingly, Red Radio has finally found the stones to speak the truth.

Department of Corrections figures show assault rates at state-run prisons are just as bad, and in some cases worse, than the privately-run Mt Eden prison.

Figures released to Radio New Zealand show Mt Eden prison recorded 224 prisoner assaults on guards or other prisoners in the year to June – the highest overall number. That was up from 165 assaults in the 2013/2014 year.

The prison, run by the private company Serco, is currently being managed by Corrections while the department investigates allegations of violence, including a prisoner-run “fight club” and contraband smuggling.

It had the third highest overall assault rate, with 22.9 assaults per 100 prisoners.

That ranged from non-injury assaults, such as spitting or pushing, right up to serious assaults requiring hospitalisation or ongoing medical treatment.

The worst overall assault rate was at Christchurch Women’s prison, which recorded an overall rate of 37 assaults per 100 prisoners, followed by Hawke’s Bay Regional prison, which had a rate of 23.5 assaults.

Manawatu prison also recorded high rates of serious assaults, while all three women’s prisons had very high rates of less serious assaults.

Heh.  That reminds me of transgender prisoner Jade that wanted to be in a women’s prison.  Good luck to her.  But back to the point – Serco does just as well as Corrections when it comes to running a prison.   Read more »

Contrast and Compare: SERCO gets minced and Corrections gets a free pass


A convicted sex offender, Zane McVeigh, led the Wellington police on a brief chase yesterday after removing his electronic bracelet.

It was believed there were still 19 people evading the authorities after removing their devices.

Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar said the monitoring system had systemic problems, and was putting the public at risk.

“We advocated that it would only be for low-level, non-violent offenders. But now you’re seeing top end, violent offenders being put out there.

“It was always going to happen when they started expanding the use of it,” he said.

“Ultimately, really we don’t have an option but to use prison more for those violent offenders, and those that are just going to give their middle fingers to the system.”

That’s the scary thing.  We have known sex offenders in the community.  I say known, but of course we’re not allowed to know who they are.  It’s a total secret.  Could be the next person you meet.   Read more »

Here’s an idea: why not tell the public who they are?

It appears we have about 4100 people out in the community with electronic ankle bracelets on.

Changes have been made to how tamper alerts for the 160 “highest risk” electronically monitored prisoners and offenders are managed in a bid to improve public safety after a spate of breaches.

A special team at the Department of Corrections will now be notified as soon as a tamper alert is received for anyone on the highest risk list – and action will be taken immediately.

In the past the security company that received the tamper alert would send a “field officer” to check the address before police or Corrections were notified.

The changes were sparked by child sex offender and kidnapper Daniel Livingstone, who allegedly cut off his monitoring bracelet and went on the run in Lower Hutt on August 6, police said. A tamper alert was received by private security company 3M but police were not advised for seven hours.

Livingstone was deemed a high-risk offender and was subject to an Electronic Supervision Order that dictated he must wear a GPS-tracking ankle bracelet at all times.

Let’s be clear here:  there are thousands of people who are on bail or are otherwise roaming about the community at large and who don’t need monitoring.   These people who need monitoring are, by definition, already deemed the most concerning.

These (alleged) criminals are somehow thought safe enough as long as a computer tells Corrections where they are physically located, yet when they don’t know where they are, they are a concern for public safety.

That doesn’t seem logical to me.  Either these people are safe enough to be in the community or not.  And if not, what the hell is a little GPS jewellery going to do to keep the public safe? Read more »

Seems Corrections is the new whipping boy

Can’t go a day without Corrections copping some flak one way or another.  Here’s another

A computer hacker has demonstrated how home detention bracelets can potentially be fooled into letting criminals roam free.

The Department of Corrections last night denied the vulnerability affected prisoners under its care – but the hacker said its systems ran on the same cellular network he exploited.

William Turner yesterday demonstrated his ability to defeat electronic monitoring bracelets relying on the cellular phone network through a practice known as “spoofing”.

Mr Turner, known in the industry as Ammon Ra, showed Wellington’s Kiwicon conference how a bracelet could be wrapped in foil, preventing it from reporting its location, then the signal mimicked by a laptop using a $500 transmitter and some custom software.

Mr Turner then instructed the “spoof” transmitter to report movements, despite the hacker and his bracelet remaining on stage.

Well, that’s home detention out of the range of options for anyone with a modicum of computer expertise.  It also make a joke of Kim Dotcom’s new ankle jewelry, if you think about it.   Read more »

Phillip Smith is like the Kim Dotcom of the Corrections Department

Turns out he’s quite angry that his plan didn’t work out, and now he “vil destroy anee boh dee”…

Convicted murderer and paedophile Phillip John Smith claims he paid $7000 to a “corrupt” prison officer at Auckland’s Paremoremo Prison to help him get a passport for his escape and other benefits.

Smith, 40, fled Auckland on a flight to Chile on November 6 just hours after getting out of Waikato’s Spring Hill Prison on temporary release. He left the country using a passport issued in his birth-name, Phillip Traynor.

He is currently being held in Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.

via Stuff

via Stuff

The Department of Corrections said tonight it is taking Smith’s claim about a prison guard seriously.

Smith, appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday via videolink, on charges of escaping custody and of gaining a passport by supplying a misleading particular.

It is alleged that he claimed to be living at a lower North Island address when he was actually in prison.

Tonight, he provided a media release via his lawyer, Tony Ellis, elaborating on how he allegedly got the passport.

He claims he met a prison officer in 2011 “who indicated that he was corrupt by offering me movies on a USB stick to watch on my TV.”

In the statement Smith claims he was aided by a “corrupt” prison officer.

Oh bugger… no… Read more »

Another Phil Smith waiting to happen then?

A brutal murderer has been allowed to walk free three times a week to “refamiliarise himself with the community” and develop his computer skills, despite the Parole Board deeming him too dangerous for release.

Jason Butler is one of a group of convicted killers who have swapped jail for mental health units while serving life sentences, becoming special patients under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act.

As a result, they can get up to a week’s unsupervised leave while under treatment, depending on doctors’ recommendations, which must be approved by the director of mental health.

But some of their victims’ families and friends are calling for an urgent review of such killers’ leave after murderer Phillip Smith’s brazen escape to Brazil during temporary leave from Waikato’s Spring Hill prison last month.

His escape led to a temporary halt of all inmates’ leave and a Corrections Department review, but it didn’t include convicted offenders in mental health care.

A ministerial inquiry was launched to probe Smith’s escape, but it was yet unknown whether it would include special patients’ leave.

“I think it bloody sucks because in two hours, he could be on my doorstep. That fellow got to Brazil, mate,” the best friend of Butler’s victim said about his three-times-a-week unsupervised leave.

If he is so inclined, he can leave a trail of destruction in mere hours.   And this is what needs to be balanced before letting them go on unsupervised Tiki-tours.   Read more »

Here is some REAL dirty politics

Not from National, nope…not from Labour, though the wanted to be in coalition with them…here is some real dirty politics being played by NZ First.

And Winston was so sanctimonious over it all in the parliament last week.

Still he is so shameless he will carry on, ignoring that it was one of his MPs digging the dirt with illegally obtained information.

The husband of a former NZ First MP has lost his job after inappropriately accessing the criminal records of a former party official.

The Corrections Department confirmed manager Dennis Taylor, husband of Asenati Lole-Taylor, is no longer employed after an investigation into a complaint by former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Her historic drink-driving convictions were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election at a 2012 convention.    Read more »

Corrections’ Ray Smith on Philip Smith: “We failed”

Turns out, with some navel gazing, the pedo turned murderer shouldn’t even have been out there all by himself.



[E]scaped murderer and paedophile Phillip John Smith should never have been let out of Spring Hill Prison on temporary release in the first place.

A Corrections review has concluded the department’s plans for Smith, who skipped the country for Brazil, were over-ambitious and misinformed, and it makes more than a dozen recommendations.

Smith was dumb enough to get recaptured, but he still outwitted Corrections.

“We failed,” says Corrections chief executive Ray Smith. “We failed to manage a serious offender on temporary release. I absolutely accept that.”

They should feel lucky that it only turned into the farce that it has – he could have gone properly underground and be grooming new kids to be his victims by now.   Read more »