C.08 Video calling from people in prison
The Department has implemented a process for eligible prisoners to make video calls to whānau, family and friends who are approved visitors. In some cases, discretion to make video calls to people who are not currently approved visitors is also allowed.
Video calling is not an entitlement, it is a privilege, and will be offered under specific conditions to protect the safety, privacy and security of all participants.
C.08.01 Principles of video calling
- To streamline communication processes so whānau, family and friends can have contact with prisoners in our care.
- To encourage this contact, so far as is reasonable and practicable and within the resources available, and to the extent that this contact is consistent with the maintenance of safety and security requirements.
C.08.02 Conditions of video calling
- The video caller cannot record or photograph the video call in any way. If they do, the video call will be ended immediately and could result in prosecution in court under section 141(1)(f) of the Corrections Act 2004.
- At least one Corrections staff member will be present in the room at all times. This means privacy cannot be assured or expected.
- A Corrections staff member will need to confirm the video caller’s identity before the prisoner can be seen on the screen.
- The video caller is not to invite other members of the public into a video call on other devices. If they do the call will be ended immediately.
- No one else should be present on the video call unless they are booked for the same video call from the same address.
- The video call will last up to 10 minutes.
- All participants must behave appropriately, as they would for a physical visit, or the video call will be ended. This means if the video caller or prisoner behaves in a manner that is:
- harmful, threatening, or intimidating to any person, or
- threatening or disruptive to the security or order of the prison, or
- indecent, or
- non-compliant with the Corrections Act 2004, or the Corrections Regulations 2005, any rule, or any lawful order given by an officer.
C.08.03 Eligibility and suitability
C.08.03.01.01 Criteria for prisoners
- Have approved visitor(s) to invite who have no current contact restrictions recorded.
- Are not subject to cell confinement or a forfeiture of privileges (see MC.03.07 Post Hearing).
- Have not breached the conditions of video calling previously.
C.08.03.01.02 Criteria for video caller
- Even if both parties meet the criteria above, you may need to consider if a video call is suitable for both parties at the time.
- Have they recently been (or currently are) subject to, a misconduct? Especially for behaviour that would pose a safety or security risk to other prisoners, staff or prison property during a video call? For example, damaging prison property, assault or threats.
- Whether the supervision provided for the video call is sufficient to safely manage a video call for this person?
The suitability of a video call needs to be considered on a case by case basis. If both parties have agreed to the conditions and no other risks are identified, you can arrange a video call.
- If you are not satisfied a video call is suitable at this time for any reason, you will need to manage their application in a fair and reasonable way and record your decision.
An IOMS offender note titled ‘Video calling’ is available to record all relevant information including request received from prisoner, email consent received from video caller, special approval and breached conditions.
Record the email address of the video caller in the note to arrange future video calls and if the prisoner transfers to another prison, staff will be able to use this information.
C.08.03.03 Potential video callers who are not approved visitors
- Some people will be overseas but are already approved visitors. They will be able to follow the process via email if invited to join a video call.
- Sometimes other people the prisoner may want to invite will not be approved visitors. They may be overseas or in New Zealand.
- As being an approved visitor is one of the eligibility criteria for video callers, only the prison director, or delegate, can authorise a video call with a person who is not an approved visitor.
- A completed C.08.Form.01 Prisoner Video Calling - Form For People in Prison and C.08.Res.02 Prisoner Video Calling Email Template OR C.08.Form.02 Prisoner Video Calling Form for Approved Visitor (hardcopy via mail) will still be required from the potential video caller so we have their consent to the conditions and details of their identification.
- An IOMS ‘Video caller’ offender note must be entered with the reasons for the decision.
It is important to consider the use of discretion to allow prisoners to video call people who are not approved visitors in some circumstances, however; this will be an exception because these people have not been subject to the normal security checks required to be an approved visitor.
C.08.04 Prisoner request and consent
- Provide the prisoner with C.08.Form.01 Prisoner Video Calling - Form for People in Prison.
- They will need to submit a completed form with the names of the approved visitors to staff for consideration.
- If they are eligible, and suitable to make a video call, continue the process to contact and invite the approved visitor(s).
- If they are not eligible, and/or suitable, advise them why their application will not be progressed at this time.
- File the form and note in the IOMS ‘Video caller’ offender note.
- If the request is for a video call to someone who is not an approved visitor, refer to the prison director, or their delegate, for consideration.
C.08.05 Video caller conditions and consent
- The approved visitor will need to email the prison group email address with the prisoner’s name, PRN and subject title ‘VIDEO CALL’. You may need to call them to explain this and provide the email address.
Note: This is to make sure we have the correct email address and do not send prisoner’s details externally to the incorrect address.
- ONLY people who have been invited by a prisoner on C.08.Form.01 Prisoner Video Calling - Form for People in Prison are to be considered.
- Each prison must use the group email address provided for video calling. Individual staff members should not be using their own email address.(See C.08.Res.01 How To Add a Mailbox to Outlook 2010.)
- Once an email is received, send a reply email with the request for further information and the conditions of video calling. Cut and paste from the C.08.Res.02 Prisoner Video Calling Email Template and fill in the missing details (prisoner’s name, PRN number and suitable times for the video call).
- The approved visitor must reply to the email template with:
- their full name and identification details from their approved visitor application
- their understanding of and consent to the conditions
- any other information you have requested to make the arrangements, such as the date and time they are available.
C.08.06 Receiving the reply email from the approved visitor
- Check the email for:
- The information requested (full name, address, approved visitor ID details)
- Any other email addresses attached; this is a disqualifying condition and you may want to refer to Corrections Intel.
- Any questions the approved visitor may have emailed.
- If the email is accepted, print it out and place on file. Then go to C.08.07 Booking the video call
- If the email is NOT accepted:
- Email the approved visitor to advise why (new contact restriction, they have challenged a condition etc.)
- If information is missing, you can email them back to ask for it, then reconsider when received.
- We have to safely store emails to meet our obligations, keep these in a folder in the shared email mailbox or another folder where they can be searched if required.
C.08.07 Booking the video call
See C.08.Res.03 How to book a video call.
C.08.08 Confirmation and guidance for the video caller(s) and the staff member(s)
- Email the approved visitor from the group email address, with the time and date of the booked video call and the link to our external website (where all the guidance material is).
See C.08.Res.04 Sending Email From a Shared Mailbox.
This is to ensure the reply will NOT include your individual work email address.
- Tell them they will need to show their approved visitor ID on the video call.
- You will need to ensure the staff who will be managing the video calls have the SVMR meeting ID, host and guest details from the email response (copy them into the booking tool).
Note: You can use a printout of the SVMR details (meeting ID and Host PIN) as these can be entered manually into ReadyCloud.
C.08.09 Video call process
See C.08.Res.06 ReadyCloud Video How to Guide for staff using a Laptop
and the training video How to Make a ReadyCloud Video Call from a Limited Access Laptop.
- Check the email inbox on the day of the booked video calls for any emails from the booked video callers. For example, they may no longer be available or are withdrawing their consent.
- The residential manager or delegate of the residential manager (e.g. corrections officer) is responsible for the setup of the session and the direct supervision of the video call.
- The unit staff will log into the approved laptop, using the limited access log-in and dial into the video call.
NO headphones are to be used.
Both for health and safety reasons and to ensure the staff member present can hear the video call.
Because video calls are not recorded, they must be actively supervised.
Now that you are connected:
- Confirm the identity and consent of the approved visitor(s), who will need to display their approved visitor ID, and lock the video call prior to the prisoner being visible on the screen.
- Once the staff member is satisfied that the correct video caller(s) are present and the prisoner is in the room, remind them ALL of their conditions. Including that the video call will be ended if the conditions are breached, or they may be subject to prosecution under section 141(1)(f) of the Corrections Act 2004 if they take photos, record sound or make any other recording of the video call (you may want to have a copy of the conditions in the room for reference).
- Advise the prisoner they are not to touch the laptop for any reason, if they do so, the video call can be ended.
- Once this has been completed, you can start the ten minute video call.
- Take up a position where you can view the screen to actively supervise the video call.
- If the prisoner or video caller breaches conditions, including other people coming on to the video call in person or calling in:
- Warn them the call may be ended and remind them of their conditions, you can mute the call if required while you explain this
- If serious enough, or other people who have not been accepted for this call remain in the call, end the call immediately
- You can use your judgment about whether any call needs to be ended, just like you would with a visit.
TO END A CALL:
If needed, you can always just close the laptop (this will not end the call but once the prisoner is removed from the room you can log back in and end it.
Press the button.
- Remind the prisoner and video caller(s) of the time before the call is to end, and again before ending the call.
- Prisoner to be escorted out of the room once completed.
If you have concerns about any activity or incident that occurred during a video call, escalate for consideration. Prison management can decide what the next steps will be in each individual case and can seek assistance from the regional or national office as required.
C.08.10 After the video call
- If a prisoner or video caller breaches the conditions of a video call, you can decide on a case by case basis what the consequences will be and record them for future reference. The expectation is that the consequences are fair and reasonable and should be reviewed after a period that is recorded.
- If there was an incident/misconduct, complete these processes as normal.
- Use the IOMS Offender note titled ‘Video calling’ to record any relevant information so other staff can refer to it.