Recent prisoner telephone monitoring operations at New Plymouth Prison have resulted in a number of significant positive outcomes for not only the prison but also for the community.
“One recent monitoring operation resulted in the prison referring information to the Police about potential methamphetamine activity within the community. It turns out Police were already monitoring the activity but the information they received from the Prison assisted in the subsequent arrest of two men involved in dealing and possessing methamphetamine,” says Regional Intelligence Manager Dave Alty.
"Assisting the Police with their enquires is just one of the ways we work together to increase public safety. Our phone monitoring operations have two main outcomes, reducing criminal activity in prison and also in the community. If we can reduce crime whether in prison or in the community we are contributing to making our communities safer.”
Phone monitoring operations at New Plymouth Prison have also recently resulted in a female visitor to the prison being arrested for trying to introduce cannabis.
“The phone call between the woman and a prisoner tipped Operations Intelligence staff off that she may try and introduce drugs. On arrival, we were waiting for her and a search involving the prison drug dog resulted in staff finding an amount of cannabis hidden in her bra.
“This type of organised behaviour is exactly what we are after when are listening in on calls. The matter was handed over to Police and the woman was excluded from the site.
“Phone monitoring however doesn't just focus on finding drugs, the information we discover is also used to alert the Prison of any brewing prisoner tensions so that staff are aware and can diffuse these before they become potential situations. This increases both staff and prisoner safety.
“Our operations are also used to alert prison staff about potential prisoners who may be using drugs. Recently we monitored calls that arose our suspicions about one prisoner, he was subsequently tested under reasonable grounds and the result came up positive. This resulted in the prisoner being classified as an identified drug user, which means their contact with people is restricted through non-contact with visitors (booth visits only), exclusion from some work parties and potential removal from programmes they may be signed up to. They also face internal disciplinary charges.
“Monitoring prisoner phone calls is key to maintaining security at our prison sites. Prisoners are fully aware that their calls can be monitored so there is no excuse for them undertaking criminal behaviour.
“Inevitably, being in prison means rights and privileges are restricted, however this doesn’t mean that prisoners contact with the world is completely removed. Prisoners are encouraged to maintain links with family and support networks so they can make a smooth return to the community when they complete their sentences. However, our call monitoring technology means we can identify when this privilege is being abused and ensure that the safety of the public and our communities is being preserved.”
“Although we try to target calls we think may result in criminal activity, we do end up listening to a number of legitimate conversations. We are very patient and this usually pays off, it is all worthwhile when we find out information that results in making our communities safer.”
Notes to Editors
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