C.02 Prisoner telephone calls

Telephone calls to and from prisoners are managed both to ensure that the Department meets it legal requirements and to restrict the likelihood of illegal activity.

C.02.01 Initial phone call

  1. As part of the induction process each newly arrived prisoner (first time in prison for the current offending whether remand or sentenced) must be given an initial free phone call (within New Zealand) for the purpose of advising their next of kin of their location.
  2. All initial free phone calls must be made immediately or if this is not possible it must happen within five working days (Monday -Saturday) of a prisoner’s arrival in prison. Initial phone calls must be made via the Operations Support team in National Office (0800 990 017). Initial calls must not be made directly from staff phones to the recipient. All initial calls must be recorded using the Operational Support team.
  3. Returns from Court or transfers in are not deemed ‘new arrivals’.
  4. Newly arrived prisoners are unlikely to have their approved phone numbers registered, so the process below must be followed to ensure the initial free phone call is recorded for monitoring purposes:
    1. Advise the prisoner they are permitted to make an initial phone call to next of kin to tell them where they are. The person nominated as next of kin cannot be a Protected Person (i.e. the prisoner is the subject of a Protection Order against them).
    2. A prisoner who is a protected person (i.e. has a Protection Order issued to them) may not nominate the person they are protected from as their next of kin.
    3. Record the name and phone number of the new arrival prisoner’s next of kin in question b (YES answer opens two fields) on the Immediate Needs Checklist when conducting the initial interview.
    4. Using an internal phone extension, dial 0800 990 017. This will connect you with the Operations Support Services staff.
    5. Advise the Operations Support Services you are making an initial new arrival call. Provide:
      1. your name
      2. your unit and prison
      3. the name of the prisoner and their PRN
      4. the name of the person and the number requested to be called.
    6. The Operations Support Services staff will:
      1. record the information above
      2. confirm the prisoners details in IOMS. This will include IOMS ALERT check and eligibility check
      3. place the call to the requested number
      4. confirm the correct person is being called
      5. advise the recipient the call is from a prisoner and the call will be recorded and may be monitored
      6. connect the call to the prison phone.
  5. The prisoner can now speak to the nominated person. The call will not automatically be ended after 5 minutes. Staff will need to end the call by directing the prisoner to hang up the phone.
  6. Complete Question "Is there anyone that you need to contact or let them know where you are?" on the Immediate Needs Checklist as ‘Yes’.
  7. If the Operations Support Services staff is unable to find the correct person or there is no answer, they will advise this is the case and the prisoner can be asked to nominate another person (start process at 3 above again).
  8. If the call cannot be put through for any reason, indicate this at Question "Is there anyone that you need to contact or let them know where you are?" on the Immediate Needs Checklist as ‘No’ (this triggers a follow up requirement for the next shift / day to complete).
  9. The Operations Support Services staff will note the call, recipient and recording ID in the IOMS offender notes.

C.02.02 Prisoner telephone criteria

  1. Every prisoner is entitled to make at least 1 outgoing telephone call of up to 5 minutes duration per week, in addition to any calls to an outside agency or his or her legal advisor.
  2. Newly arrived prisoners must be allowed 1 free phone call within New Zealand for the purpose of advising their next of kin (Corrections Regulations 2005, regulation 87). This phone call must be recorded for monitoring purposes but is unlikely to be able to be made on a prisoner pay phone due to the pre-approved phone number process not being started. [C.02.01 Initial phone call] details the process for making the initial free call from any non-prisoner payphone. This process ensures the initial call is recorded and must be followed for all new arrival initial free phone calls.
  3. Prisoners can make telephone calls in any language.

C.02.03 Global 0800 and 0508 numbers

  1. All prisoners have access to those Global 0800 and 0508 numbers listed in [C.02.Sch.01 Schedule of Global 0800 and 0508 numbers].
  2. All Global 0800 / 0508 phone numbers available to prisoners must be approved by the National Commissioner.
    Note: Any requests for inclusion on the global list must be sent to the Manager Custodial Practice for consideration and approval.
  3. All prisoners must be issued with a PIN to access the Corrections Prisoner Telephone System (CPTS) as soon as possible after reception to allow all prisoners access to Global 0800 and 0508 numbers.

C.02.04 Prisoner requests approval of personal telephone numbers

  1. A prisoner must request that their personal telephone numbers be approved by a unit staff member and entered on the CPTS [C.02.06 Staff verify prisoner personal telephone numbers].
  2. Prisoners can apply to have 10 personal telephone numbers.
  3. Prisoners who want to keep in regular contact with their legal counsel for advice on investments, family issue, can have 2 exempt numbers in addition to their 10 personal numbers.

C.02.05 Staff check for No Contact Conditions Alert

  1. On receiving the completed [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request] from a prisoner staff must check if there is a No Contact Conditions (NCC) alert for that prisoner.
  2. If there is a No Contact Conditions (NCC) alert staff must inform the prisoner that the number cannot be approved (see [I.06 Complete arrival administration]).

C.02.06 Staff check for contact restrictions

  1. On receiving the completed [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request] from a prisoner, staff must check if the prisoner has indicated on the form that a contact restriction (e.g. court order) exists for the person(s) at the telephone number requested.
  2. Upon receipt of the C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request, staff must check if the prisoner has indicated on the form that a contact restriction (e.g. court order) exists for the person(s) at the telephone number requested.
  3. If a prisoner has indicated that a contact restriction exists then the following actions must occur:
    1. staff must find out if the contact restriction permits calls from the prisoner. If this is not permitted, staff must inform the prisoner that the phone number is not approved, and
    2. enter the details into the prisoner’s telephone number list on IOMS with a status as prohibited, and
    3. activate in IOMS an Alert for the specific type of restrictions and enter the date of the request, and the name(s) and contact information of the protected person received into comments.
    4. If the number has been prohibited in IOMS the number must be blacklisted in CPTS.
    5. Watch Point

      For no contact conditions (NCC), the details of the specified person must be entered into the IOMS Remand - No Contact Persons screen.

      Contact or address details of the specified person(s) must not be entered into any file notes or the IOMS alert - these must be entered into the IOMS - Remand - No Contact Persons screen only.

C.02.07 Staff verify prisoner personal telephone numbers

  1. On receiving the completed request [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request] from a prisoner staff must:
    1. verify* that each name and number is correct
      Watch Point

      * Newly transferred prisoners approved phone numbers do not require rechecking / verifying.

    2. check IOMS to determine if a no contact condition (or other contact restriction) is in place.
      If in place refer to [C.01.Res.05 Types of contact restrictions] for guidance on which type of contact may be permitted under the restriction.
    3. Watch Point

      If phone contact is permitted proceed to step c.

      If phone contact needs written consent, the protected person must not be contacted and no further action can be taken unless the applicant contacts the prison directly requesting contact.

      [C.01.Form.01 Confirmation by protected person of willingness to maintain contact] can be used as a written record of the consent - which is required to be in writing.

    4. obtain from each of the nominated call recipients their consent to receiving calls from the prisoner
    5. enquire from the nominated call recipient whether the prisoner is subjected to a contact restriction**.
      Watch Point

      ** If staff have prior knowledge there is any contact restriction in place the staff cannot contact the recipient on the prisoner's behalf, unless the contact is permitted under the type of contact restriction, or there is evidence of consent for the contact.

    6. If they confirm the existence of a contact restriction, staff must advise them that they must seek a variation to the restriction (if applicable) (see [C.01.Res.05 Types of contact restrictions]) before the prisoner is permitted to have outward phone contact to any person protected by the restriction at that phone number except where contact is:
      1. reasonably necessary in any emergency; or
      2. permitted under any order or written agreement relating to the role of providing day-to-day care for, or contact with, or custody of -
        • any child (within the meaning of [section 8 of the Care of Children Act 2004]); or
        • any child or young person (within the meaning of [section 2 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989]); or
      3. permitted under any special condition of the protection order; or
      4. necessary for the purposes of attending a family group conference (within the meaning of [section 2 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989]); or
      5. necessary to attend any proceeding (of any kind) in or before any court or person acting judicially, or to attend any other matter that is associated with such a proceeding and that is a matter that the parties to the proceeding jointly attend (for example, a restorative justice conference, or a settlement conference convened under [section 46Q of the Care of Children Act 2004]).
  2. Prison staff must contact all nominated call recipients using the number supplied on the prisoner’s form, and advise them:
    1. of the name of the prisoner who wishes to contact them
    2. that they can refuse to receive any or all calls from the prisoner.
  3. If the call recipient refuses to accept calls from the prisoner this must be noted on the [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request] and staff inform the prisoner that the recipient has not agreed to receive the prisoner's calls.
  4. If the call recipient consents to calls from the prisoner, staff must:
    1. advise that the call recipient will automatically be notified on picking up the phone that a call is being received from a prisoner and that they can either accept or refuse the call
    2. advise the call recipient the periods of the day when they are likely to receive a call from the prisoner
    3. advise the call recipient that calls are not to be diverted to another number
    4. advise the call recipient that the department collects names, phone numbers and record calls, for the purpose of increasing the safety of the community, and that they have right of access and correction
    5. note any restrictions on the receiving of calls
    6. update, as necessary, IOMS Prisoner telephone number request (PDF).
  5. Officers can use the script in [C.02.Res.01 Recommended officer dialogue to intended recipients] to verify and confirm whether the recipient consents to contact.
  6. Staff should record all decisions then sign and date [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request].

C.02.08 Approval of prisoner personal telephone numbers

  1. The unit PCO or other designated staff can refuse or approve the contact number, irrespective of the recipient's approval:
    1. if there are grounds to prohibit the number (for guidance see [C.02.09 Local prison prohibited and approved telephone numbers] below) or
    2. if there is a Court order which prevents contact.
      This is due to the potential impact on security and the safety of staff, victims and other prisoners as well as legislative requirements.
  2. A copy of [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request] with the list of authorised numbers should be entered and maintained on IOMS (in the Prison document tree under the induction to Unit Section), and copies should also be forwarded to:
    1. Prisoner administration team
    2. the prison site Corrections Intelligence team.
  3. Prison administration staff enter all approved numbers into the telephone system for the prisoner to access and then confirm set-up on the form and return it to the unit.
  4. Transferred prisoners should have their approved numbers transferred using the transfer option in the prisoner telephone system. The system generates a new pin to newly transferred prisoners for the new site.
  5. On receiving the completed [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request], staff must:
    1. advise the prisoner of the approved numbers and those numbers where a recipient refused to accept any or all calls from the prisoner
    2. inform the prisoner of any numbers refused by the PCO or other designated staff and the reason why those numbers have been refused (for guidance see [C.02.09 Local prison prohibited and approved telephone numbers] below)
    3. provide the prisoner with a copy of the authorised [C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request] (within five days of the unit PCO decisions)
    4. confirm that the system has been set up allowing the prisoner to use the CPTS
    5. provide the prisoner with a PIN (prisoner is to sign that they acknowledge receipt of their PIN)
    6. update, as necessary, IOMS Prisoner telephone number request.
    7. place the original form on the prisoner’s file.

C.02.09 Local prison prohibited and approved telephone numbers

  1. Each prison will compile a list of locally prohibited numbers that will not be entered onto the system for anyone. This must include at a minimum:
    1. gang headquarters
    2. liquor outlets
    3. TAB
    4. known drug dealers
    5. known offenders * (if there is information or reasonable belief that the proposed recipient is currently engaged in criminal activity)
    6. media.
  2. The custodial systems manager approves the list of prohibited numbers and can authorise any changes to this list at any time which includes adding a number to the site blacklist in the prisoner telephone system at their discretion. Sites must email frontlinesupport@corrections.govt.nz with the phone number, name and a reason for the site prohibited request and approval from the Custodial System Managers (CSM).
  3. Consideration

    In approving or declining a phone number, consideration must be given to both the security risk (public or victim) and the rehabilitation benefits.

    Just because an individual has previously been in prison, it is not on its own a reason to decline contact.

    If the purpose of the contact can be seen to aid rehabilitation, then it should be allowed. If necessary, to mitigate any security issues, the call can be reviewed by Intel.

    The prisoner should be reminded that while he/she is using the CPTS, the call will be monitored and if there is any inappropriate behaviour (such as abusive language, call diversion, attempt to introduce contraband) it may result in telephone privileges being reduced or withdrawn and a misconduct charge being laid.

C.02.10 Prisoner access to CPTS telephones

  1. Designated pay telephones are available for approved prisoner use during the hours of unlock. However, the unit PCO may approve additional access to a prisoner at a reasonable time:
    1. where necessary, after investigating and confirming that the circumstances merit it, or
    2. when an inspector of corrections or an Ombudsman requests that a prisoner contact them by telephone.
      1. The maximum duration of all telephone approved personal calls is 15 minutes, this includes international calls.
      2. All prisoners have access to those Global 0800 and 0508 numbers listed in [C.02.Sch.01 Schedule of Global 0800 and 0508 numbers]. There is a 55 minute call limit for each call. These calls are not deducted from the prisoners daily limit.
      3. There are no restrictions on the number of calls a prisoner can make to any approved or Global 0800 and 0508 numbers. However, if it becomes apparent that a prisoner is overusing a telephone and thus preventing equitable access to others, the PCO may limit the number of allowable calls for that prisoner.

C.02.11 Prisoner access to non-CPTS telephones

  1. Prisoners will have reasonable access free of charge to a non-CPTS phone if they are:
    1. remand prisoners contacting their legal representative, or
    2. sentenced prisoners involved in additional / pending court proceedings (e.g. appeal, further charges, or civil proceedings) for the duration of these proceedings, or
    3. prisoners of non-New Zealand citizenship contacting a consular representative of their country, or
    4. when prisoners placed on non-voluntary segregation ask to contact their lawyer / solicitor in order to seek advice about their situation, or
    5. approved calls at discretion of unit PCO to assist with rehabilitation and reintegration*.
      Watch Point

      *When staff are making an outgoing call on behalf of a prisoner, care must be taken to ensure prisoners are unable to see the outward number displayed on the telephone.

      Care must also be exercised to ensure any unit book containing phone numbers for providers, education tutors, case managers, or probation officers is not left anywhere that prisoners could look at it.
  2. New arrival prisoners (remand or sentenced) will make their first initial free call via the [C.02.01 Initial phone call] process.
  3. Prisoners are not allowed to use non-CPTS telephones to call numbers on [C.02.Sch.01 Schedule of Global 0800 and 0508 numbers], unless:
    1. specifically authorised or directed by the prison director, and
    2. staff, when placing the call, advise the recipient of the following:
      1. the origin of the call, e.g. Otago Prison
      2. the name of the prisoner requesting the call
      3. the decision to use a non-CPTS telephone
      4. the arrangements that will be implemented to ensure the confidentiality of the telephone conversation is maintained and
    3. the phone and the prisoner are always able to be observed by staff
    4. staff verify that the recipient will accept the call.
Watch Point

Staff must not contact any member of the Judiciary for the purpose of making contact on behalf of a prisoner.

Prisoners requesting contact with any Court must be advised to contact the Registrar of the Court.

The same oversight of a non-CPTS call to a legal representative is to be applied to calls to the Registrar of the Court the phone and the prisoner are always able to be observed by staff.

C.02.12 Costs of calls

  1. All prisoner outgoing telephone calls no longer incur a cost to the prisoner. With the introduction of CPTS personal 0800 numbers are no longer accepted as approved numbers.
  2. Extra domestic or international minutes must be approved by the prison director or their delegate once the prisoner has demonstrated an exceptional circumstance e.g. bereavement, family emergency or another exceptional circumstance that the prison director or their delegate deems appropriate and approves.

C.02.13 Monitoring prisoners calls

  1. Written notices ([C.02.Form.02 Telephone call monitoring notice]) must be prominently displayed near telephones that prisoners are authorised to use advising prisoners:
    1. that their personal calls will be recorded and may be monitored and disclosed, and
    2. the purpose (in general terms) for which information obtained from monitoring is used, and
    3. which calls are exempt from being recorded and monitored.
  2. Staff authorised to monitor calls will advise the custodial systems manager (or other authorised delegate), via a vetted PTMS/CPTS disclosure, of any incident involving a prisoner misusing telephone privileges.

See [Prisoner Telephone Monitoring Policy] for guidance for all authorised persons on their responsibilities and obligations regarding the monitoring of prisoner telephone calls.

C.02.14 Prisoner misuses the telephone

  1. Misuse of the telephone may include, but not be limited to, the following points:
    1. introduce, attempt to introduce or conspire to introduce unauthorised items (contraband) into prison
    2. to participate in:
      1. three-way calling
      2. call diversion
      3. PIN swapping / misuse
      4. any other unauthorised use.
  2. The custodial systems manager (or other authorised delegate) may, if appropriate:
    1. charge the prisoner with a misconduct as per the POM [MC.01 Filing a disciplinary charge instructions], and
    2. prohibit the number(s) from the system before the outcome of the misconduct or investigation, if allowing the prisoner to continue to call the phone number(s) may threaten the maintenance of the law or security and good order of the prison.
  3. An IOMS incident report must be created.
  4. The prisoner being charged must receive a copy of the vetted CPTS disclosure before any misconduct is heard.
  5. A prisoner found guilty, by a hearing adjudicator or Visiting Justice, of any offence in relation to CPTS will be subject to disciplinary action as considered appropriate by the adjudicator or Visiting Justice.

C.02.15 Prohibiting approved personal prisoner numbers

  1. Approved numbers may be prohibited from the CPTS when:
    1. a call recipient advises that they no longer wish to receive calls from the prisoner the number should be prohibited in IOMS and blacklisted in CPTS.
    2. if the prisoner is discharged from prison IOMS must be updated with end dates on any approved numbers and off site must be selected in the prisoners CPTS profile
    3. pending the investigation of a complaint or offence or pending a misconduct hearing relating to an approved number.

C.02.16 Incoming calls for prisoners

  1. When a call is received for a prisoner from family / whānau or friends, staff take a message and relay the message promptly and with sensitivity to the prisoner.
  2. All sites that use a telephone recording system must ensure that messages are reviewed and cleared daily.