Bill clamps down on prison contraband and crime

  • Judith Collins

The Government today reintroduced a Bill to the House that would make it harder for inmates to bring prohibited items into prison and commit crimes.

The Corrections Amendment Bill amends the Corrections Act 2004 to create new search, detection, drug-testing and offence provisions to help control contraband.

"It is important that we make it more difficult for people to smuggle prohibited items into prisons and easier for prison staff to detect them," Corrections Minister Judith Collins says.

The Bill will increase controls over prisoners' communications with the outside world and their ability to commit crime from inside prison.  It enables mail to be screened and introduces zero tolerance to staff that pass contraband to prisoners.

"The failure of the previous Government to pass the Bill was another example of how Labour mismanaged the Corrections sector," Ms Collins says.

"Labour introduced the Bill only after pressure from National, but then sat on their hands for almost a year. Their failure to make it law put the safety of prison staff and the public at risk," Ms Collins says.

Ms Collins says a priority is to ensure the safety of Corrections staff.  "I expect this Bill to result in safer working conditions and to allow staff to be proactive in identifying and removing threats."

Improved access to drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes are a key part of the Government's efforts to reduce reoffending.

The Bill will make these programmes more effective by reducing prisoners' access to illegal drugs, Ms Collins says.