More dodgy deaths in non-Serco prisons, and not a peep from Kelvin

Where is Kelvin Davis when you need him?

It seems that there are criminals dying in non-Serco run prisons…the ones run by the Corrections Union and he is nowhere to be seen.

A total of 85 prisoners died while serving a prison sentence in New Zealand since 2010, while at least 100 others had their lives saved by staff.

Information released under the Official Information Act indicated that of these deaths, 38 were deemed unnatural and 47 were the result of a natural cause.

An unnatural death could include death as a result of self-harm, an accident, foul play, or a death where the cause was unable to be initially confirmed.

A natural death was the death of any prisoner in custody as a result of natural causes.

In Whanganui Prison, eight deaths were recorded as natural deaths from 2010 until 2015 with two unnatural deaths occurring in 2010 and 2011.

Manawatu Prison had two unnatural deaths occur in 2011 with no natural deaths occurring in the past five years.

Read more »

So, how many times has David Seymour visited a prison?

Do you remember David Seymour grandstanding about visiting prisons after Judith Collins put new rules in place regarding MP visits to prisons?

I do.

ACT leader David Seymour has accused Corrections and Police Minister Judith Collins of trying to break the law.

Collins sent an email to other MPs, saying if they wanted to visit a prison they should organise it through a Private Secretary in her office.

Members of Parliament have a legal right to visit prisons, and notifying the Minister is considered a courtesy.

Collins denied yesterday that she was trying to keep tabs on opposition MPs.

However David Seymour claimed that Collins was breaking a law intended to provide oversight.    Read more »

Will Jarrod Gilbert resign if he is wrong?

Jarrod Gilbert has written a sanctimonious piece in the NZ Herald claiming that Judith Collins is wrong about gangs and that he and only he has the answers.

In an opinion piece in the Herald, Collins stated that one third of our prison population are “active gang members”. Given her own data say there are 4000 gang members in New Zealand and the country’s prison muster is over 9000 that would mean there are just 1000 gang members out of jail. Utter nonsense. It’s not even remotely close to being true. In fact, I will resign from the University of Canterbury if she is correct.

And let’s not get started on her claim that the gangs are grouping together in a strategy to sell methamphetamine to rich school kids; a better example of dog whistle politics you’d be hard pressed to find. As such, Collins joins the long cast of politicians who use the gangs for political advantage. The gangs exist in marginalised communities and the vast majority of New Zealanders reading this will have absolutely nothing to do with them – probably not even see them – and because of this they are perfect folk devils. It’s baffling really, given there are enough very real problems and concerns surrounding the gangs, ramping up the issue is unnecessary.   Read more »

Why privatisation is a good idea

It is a good idea for a private prison regime with robust contracts.

Judith Collins explains to Richard Harman at Politik:

She’s been back four months and yesterday came one of her first “wins” with the news that the private prisoner operator Serco was to pay the Government $8 million in compensation over it’s after the Department of Corrections had to take over the management of Mt Eden Corrections Facility.

Corrections will continue to manage Mt Eden Corrections Facility with Serco providing personnel at cost until the end of the contract. Serco will make no profit from the arrangement.

She sees this as a vindication of the private public partnership model she so vigorously backed in her first incarnation as Corrections Minister.   Read more »

Face of the day


PHOTO -Judith Collins facebook page

I do like a politician with a sense of humour. Personally, I prefer the Oxford dictionary.

Today, I’ve been at Hawkes Bay Prison specifically to celebrate prisoners learning to read and write through the partnership between Corrections and the Howard League for Prison Reform. Here’s some of the pics. Tony Gibbs (President Howard League), Kevin and me, and me speaking at the graduation.

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Arthur Taylor loses case on prisoner voting

Arthur Taylor has failed to challenge the government over prisoner voting, with the High Court biffing his case out.

Radio NZ at least gets his occupation right.

Career criminal Arthur Taylor’s bid to have some prisoner voting ruled lawful, after a legislation change banned it, has been overturned.

The High Court dismissed the claim from Taylor and six other inmates that they were unlawfully barred from voting in the 2014 general election.

Parliament passed a law in 2010 preventing all sentenced prisoners from voting, no matter how long their sentence.

Previously, all prisoners serving a jail term of fewer than three years could vote.    Read more »

Another journalist falls for Arthur Taylor’s BS

The Media party are all falling over themselves to pander to Arthur Taylor’s ego.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush once described Arthur Taylor as “a criminal with no moral or social conscience”. RNZ Reporter Kate Newton was granted a rare interview with the career crook who claims he’s now on the right side of justice. She found Taylor, who’s been a thorn in the side of police for decades, brazen and unapologetic.

Precisely why he remains behind bars.

After spending 38 of the last 44 years in prison, amassing 152 convictions along the way for fraud, burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, firearms offences, drugs offences and escaping from custody, he’s built up a certain mystique.

“He’s a very clever man. He’s also a very dangerous man,” was all one Crown prosecutor would say.

Previously intent on flouting the law, these days Taylor claims to be crusading on behalf of his fellow prisoners, which must gnaw at prison authorities.

Arthur William Taylor turns 60 this year. He’s currently serving out a 17-year cumulative sentence in the high-security A Block at Paremoremo and will be released in 2022 if he isn’t granted parole earlier.

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Kelvin Davis: friend of the prisoner, enemy of the state

Yesterday Judith Collins wrote to MPs asking them to arrange visits to Corrections prisons through her office.

Predictably two MPs had to grandstand: David Seymour and  David Clendon. They walked right into a trap.

Judith Collins never does anything without a reason, and her reason was to address what Kelvin Davis has now admitted to…MPs putting Corrections officers at grave risk.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis has outed himself as the politician who shared a female Corrections staff member’s contact details with an offender who had a history of sexual violence.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins has written a letter to MPs, citing the case as an example of why care needed to be taken when advocating for current or former prisoners.

Collins said the MP, who she did not name, had sent an email directly to the staff member, “openly copying in” an offender with a track record of sexual violence against women and thus sharing her details.

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Greens whine about Judith Collins’ letter, who declares them “silly”

Corrections Minister Judith Collins is urging MPs to visit prisons — but she’d like to know about it when they do.

She’s emailed all MPs reminding them they’re entitled to visit prisons but there are “certain expectations and protocols” that should be followed.

“Requests for visits should be directed via the Corrections private secretary in my office,” she says in the letter.

“They will ensure the right people in Corrections are contacted and will facilitate the arrangements for your visit.”

The Green Party’s corrections spokesman, David Clendon, has a problem with the letter.

“It suggests that in all circumstances MPs ought to inform or even seek permission of the minister before we enter a prison,” he told NZ Newswire.
“If I have urgent concerns about what’s happening in a prison I will continue to exercise my right to enter a prison at any time without going through the minister’s office.”

Ms Collins says she made the point in her letter that MPs have the right to visit prisons. Read more »

So tell me again why you’d speak with The Nation?

Arthur Taylor is the cause célèbre at the moment for Newshub and the crim-huggers at The Nation.

But yet again one of their causes is under investigation as a result of their story.

Auckland Prison inmate Arthur Taylor does not have the permission of the prison director to earn an income while behind bars, and a Corrections spokesperson has confirmed the department will be looking into it.

The self-styled jailhouse “lawyer” told The Nation’s Lisa Owen that he gets paid for what he calls consultancy work.

“I am contacted frequently… from people who seek advice on various matters and are only too willing to pay,” he says.

In 2010, media reports claimed Inland Revenue had assessed his income for the previous year at more than $100,000.   Read more »