C.02 Prisoner telephone

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.

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 PIN and pre-approved phone number process not being started. C.02.Res.04 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.
  4. All Global 0800 / 0508 phone numbers available to prisoners must be approved by the National Commissioner.
    Note: Any other requests for inclusion on the global list must be sent by the prison director to the Chief Custodial Officer, Service Development for consideration and approval.
  5. All prisoners shall be issued with a PIN for the PTCCS as soon as possible after reception to allow all prisoners access to Global 0800 and 0508 numbers.

C.02.01 Request by prisoner for approval of personal telephone numbers

  1. A prisoner must make a written application using C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request requesting their personal telephone numbers be approved by the unit PCO and entered on the Prisoner Telephone Call Control System (PTCCS).
  2. Upon receipt of the C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request from a remand prisoner staff must check if there is a No Contact Conditions (NCC) alert. If there is an NCC alert inform the prisoner that the number cannot be approved (see I.06 Complete arrival administration).
  3. 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.
  4. If a prisoner has indicated that a contact restriction exists then the following actions must occur:
    1. staff must ascertain if the contact restriction permits calls from the prisoner. If this is not permitted, inform the prisoner that the phone number is not approved, and
    2. enter the number into the PTCCS system as a prohibited number for the prisoner; the details are also to be added to the prisoner’s telephone number list on IOMS.
    3. activate in IOMS a 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. For all types of restrictions, except NCC, Update IOMS – Offender Notes - Protection / Restraining orders, of the existence of the contact restrictions, and list the names and addresses (if known) of the “protected persons”.
    4. 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.

  5. Prisoner can apply to have:
    1. a maximum of 10 personal telephone numbers.
    2. specific approval for cell phone number(s) must be granted by the prison director or delegate.
  6. Sentenced prisoners who want to keep in regular contact with their legal counsel for advice on investments, family issues, must include the number as one of the ten numbers permitted on their list.

C.02.02 Verification of prisoner personal telephone numbers

  1. Upon receiving the completed application from the prisoner prison staff must:
    1. verify* that name and number are correct
    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 intended recipient whether the prisoner is subjected to a contact restriction**. 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. reasonable 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 -
      3. any child (within the meaning of section 8 of the Care of Children Act 2004); or
      4. any child or young person (within the meaning of section 2 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989); or
      5. permitted under any special condition of the protection order; or
      6. necessary for the purposes of attending a family group conference (within the meaning of section 2 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989); or
      7. 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).
      8. Watch Point

        * Newly transferred prisoners approved phone numbers do not require re-checking / verifying and should be entered into the PTCCS as soon as practicable.

        ** If staff have prior knowledge there is any contact restriction in place the staff cannot contact the recipent 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.

  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 the prisoner informed 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 they 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 periods of the day when they are likely to receive a call from the prisoner
    3. advise that calls are not to be diverted to another number
    4. note any restrictions on the receiving of calls
    5. update, as necessary, IOMS Prisoner telephone number request (PDF).
  5. C.02.Res.01 Recommended officer dialogue to intended recipients is a script that officers can use when verifying and confirming whether the recipient consents to contact.
  6. Staff should record all decisions then sign and date the C.02.Form.01 Prisoner telephone number request.

C.02.03 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, if there are grounds to prohibit the number (for guidance see C.02.04 Local prison / prohibited and approved telephone numbers below) or 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 Telephone Computer Control System (PTCCS) operator
    2. the prison site Corrections Intelligence team.
  3. Prisoner telephone system operators are to enter all approved numbers into the telephone system for the prisoner to access and they are to then:
    1. allocate a PIN to the prisoner
    2. confirm set-up on the form and return it to the unit.
  4. Transferred prisoners should have their approved numbers entered into the system as soon as practicable.
  5. Upon 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 call was not accepted by recipients
    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.02.04 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 PTCCS
    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 (PDF), in the Prison document tree under the induction to Unit Section.
    7. place the original of the form on the prisoner’s file.

C.02.04 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 and at their discretion.
  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 PTCCS, the call will be monitored and if there is any inappropriate behaviour (such as abusive language, call division, attempt to introduce contraband) it may result in telephone privileges being reduced or withdrawn and a misconduct charge being laid.

C.02.05 Prisoner access to PTCCS 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 calls to Home 0800 numbers and 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 are no time restrictions on duration of such calls.
      3. Any additions to Global 0800 and 0508 numbers must be authorised by the National Commissioner.
      4. 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, a printout of a prisoner's telephone history will be made available to the unit PCO, who may limit the number of allowable calls for that prisoner.

C.02.06 Prisoner access to non-PTCCS telephones

  1. Prisoners will have reasonable access free of charge to a non-PTCCS 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.
  2. New arrival prisoners (remand or sentenced) will make their first initial free call via the C.02.Res.04 Initial Phone Call process.
  3. Prisoners are not allowed to use non-PTCCS 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-PTCCS 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 able to be observed by staff at all times
    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-PTCCS call to a legal representative is to be applied to calls to the Registrar of the Court (see C.02.06 3. c. above).

C.02.07 Costs of calls

  1. Every prisoner who makes an outgoing telephone call may be required to meet the cost of that call or pay a fee set by the Chief Executive except where:
    1. the telephone call relates to any of the circumstances listed in section C.02.06 above, or
    2. the custodial systems manager (or other authorised delegate) has given approval for the prisoner to make a specific telephone call free of charge. When determining whether to approve a prisoner making an outgoing phone call free of charge, the custodial systems manager (or other authorised delegate) should take into consideration
      1. the welfare of the prisoner
      2. the circumstances that arise at the time, including compassionate / welfare issues
      3. operational necessities.
  2. The cost of telephone calls made by staff to verify prisoner contact numbers is met by the prison.
  3. Except where temporary access to home 0800 or 0508 numbers has been approved, or calls are to Global 0800 or 0508 numbers, the PTCCS phone system cannot be activated without a prepaid telephone card. Prisoners may purchase Spark phone cards via their trust account purchasing, have them brought by their visitors or sent through the mail.
  4. In 2015, special international call rates were negotiated for prisoners. Only Spark pre-paid phone cards may be used for international calls, prisoners are not to have access to non-PTCCS telephones for normal international calls.
  5. When the custodial systems manager (or other authorised delegate) determines that a prisoners circumstances warrant, the prison will provide the prisoner with one $10 phone card per month to enable PTCCS calls to be made. The provision of the prison paid phone card must be reviewed monthly to ensure the hardship circumstances are ongoing. (See POM C.02.Res.03 Hardship assessment - prisoner requesting international phone calls to family for guidance on hardship assessment.)

C.02.08 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 disclosure, of any incident involving a prisoner misusing telephone privileges.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. remove 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.
  5. An IOMS incident report must be created.
  6. The prisoner being charged must receive a copy of the vetted PTCCS disclosure before any misconduct is heard.
  7. A prisoner found guilty, by a hearing adjudicator or Visiting Justice, of any offence in relation to PTCCS will be subject to disciplinary action as considered appropriate by the adjudicator or Visiting Justice.

C.02.09 Removal of approved personal prisoner numbers and PIN

  1. Approved numbers may be removed from the PTCCS when:
    1. a call recipient advises that they no longer wish to receive calls from the prisoner
    2. the prisoner is being transferred (prior to a prisoner's transfer, a report of their current authorised contacts must be printed and placed on the prisoner file for the receiving prison to update)
    3. the prisoner is discharged from the prison
    4. the number is no longer approved (e.g. proven misconduct of any offence in relation to PTCCS)
    5. pending the investigation of a complaint or offence or pending a misconduct hearing relating to an approved number.
  2. The prisoner's PIN is removed from the system when the prisoner leaves the prison.

C.02.10 Incoming calls for prisoners

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