M.04.03 Inter-prison transfers

The purpose of this section is to manage the transfer of prisoners between prisons safely, humanely and securely while minimising risk to prisoners, staff and the general public.

M.04.03.01 Inter-prison transferring criteria

  1. The department uses the Prisoner Transfer Request (PTR) tool to record all requests and decisions for inter-prison transfers, as well as escort bookings. The tool is accessible by all staff with IOMS access through the front page of Tatou. Staff must use the tool for all inter-prison transfers, in accordance with the PTR Guide (Prison Transfer Request (PTR) Guide).
  2. The Population Pressure Rating (PPR) is a tool that automatically calculates factors recorded in IOMS (such as court and Parole Board dates, programmes and visitors) and provides a score to each prisoner in relation to their suitability for transfer to another prison. Each person’s rating can be accessed through the PTR tool. The lower the score, the less suitable they are to be transferred to another prison.
    Watch Point

    The manual override function to add a constraint is to be use for information that would affect the ability to transfer the prisoner but is not captured automatically to inform the PPR.

    This includes instances where additional consideration needs to be given to a prisoner's personal situation, such as seriously ill family member, pregnant partner and child custody issues that are being managed through visits and onsite support.

    Note: The manual override is not to be used for information that is held in IOMS and automatically populates the PPR.

  3. A prisoner will only be transferred from one prison to another for at least one of the following purposes:
    1. to assist in reducing the likelihood of reoffending by the prisoner
    2. to assist in facilitating:
      1. the rehabilitation of the prisoner
      2. the reintegration of the prisoner into the community on his or her release
    3. to place that prisoner in a prison closer to his or her family
    4. to respond to the needs to that prisoner, as identified in the management plan
    5. to ensure the safety of that prisoner or any other person
    6. to implement a change in the security classification of that prisoner
    7. to provide medical or psychiatric care for that prisoner
    8. to reduce the risk of self-harm by that prisoner if he or she is identified as being at risk
    9. to reduce the risk to that prisoner if he or she is identified as being vulnerable to mistreatment by other prisoners
    10. to grant a request by a prisoner for a transfer

    All transfers of prisoners will be conducted in a safe and humane manner, with the wellbeing of the prisoner at the centre.

    Escorts must take place in line with the guidance provided in POM M.04 External movement of prisoners.

M.04.03.02 Transfer requests

  1. Any prisoner or staff member can request a transfer of a prisoner to another prison by making a request to a Corrections Officer (CO) in their unit. The CO must then refer the request to the unit's PCO as soon as practicable for loading into the PTR tool.
  2. Even if staff believe someone is unlikely to be transferred due to their PPR score being too low, they must ensure the request is loaded into the PTR.
  3. A request for an inter-prison transfer will only be submitted by the site at which the prisoner is currently housed and by the appropriate staff member as detailed below, dependent of the reason for the transfer:
    1. Population Pressure - Adviser Prison Population only
      1. For muster management purpose
      2. To separate different categories of prisoners
    2. Judicial - RO staff, PCO of the unit or Board Liaison Officers
      1. For Judicial purposes
      2. The transfer is pursuant to section 143 of the Sentencing Act 2002
    3. Medical - Health staff
      1. to provide Health care
    4. Placement Management - Prison Director, Residential Manager or  PCO
      1. to ensure the safety of that prisoner or any other reason
      2. to reduce the risk of suicide or self-harm
      3. transfer has been directed by the Chief Executive or an Inspector
      4. to restore or maintain security and order of the prison
    5. Personal Request - PCO
      1. prisoner request transfer
    6. Accepted for Programme - PCO or delegate from the destination unit
      1. for reintegration / rehabilitation purposes
      2. to address offender plan activities
    7. Release - PCO or RO staff
      1. to be close to home region
    8. Placement Review - PCO
      1. to assist in likelihood of reducing re-offending
      2. due to change in security classification
      3. to allow for repairs or alterations at the prison
  4. Prison Population team members may arrange transfers for prisoners under the population pressure category without first receiving request from a frontline staff member.
  5. Transfer planned by the prison population team for this purpose will be available for all prisons to view in the PTR. A decision made under the provision in paragraph 4, can be challenged prior to the transfer taking place after consulting with relevant third parties, such as whānau. If this situation arises the prison will contact the prison population team to discuss the individual case.
  6. All transfer requests and escort arrangements must be made through the PTR. Requests and escort arrangements must not be made directly from one prison to another outside of the PTR.
    Watch Point

    A decision on a prisoner's transfer request received by or initiated by staff must be made and the outcome communicated to the prisoner within 10 working days of it being received.

M.04.03.03 Transfer approvals

  1. All transfer requests are approved in the PTR by the Prison Population team, rather than frontline staff, with the following exceptions:
    1. For transfers of prisoners due to placement  management, the prison director at the receiving site will make the final decision.
    2. For transfers of prisoners with a maximum security classification to Auckland Prison or Auckland Women's Regional Corrections Facility, approvals will be made by the prison director or delegate.
    3. For transfers to Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF) approval will be made by the prison director or delegate (with the exception of cases related to population pressure, where the approver will be the prison population team).

M.04.03.04 Considerations when making transfer decisions and notification requirements

  1. Prior to any transfer decision being made it is important that the prison director or delegate has considered the individual circumstances of the prisoner to satisfy themselves that the transfer is necessary and will not interrupt the prisoners progress in achieving their rehabilitative or reintegrative needs. These considerations need to include:
    1. Time between consideration and proposed transfer date
      Prisoners must be informed of an impending transfer, and the destination, at least 7 days in advance or given as much prior notice under the circumstances, before they are transferred. The prisoner must be provided with a reasonable opportunity to inform a member of his or her family of the impending transfer, and the destination, before the transfer is made. This requirement does not apply if one if the following circumstances exist:
      1. the prisoner to be transferred is expected to create a management difficulty before the transfer is made or as a result of the transfer
      2. the transfer is being made because there are reasonable grounds to believe that the safety of the prisoner or others at the prison within which the prisoner currently resides is at risk
      3. the transfer is being made to restore or maintain the security and order of the prison from which the prisoner is being transferred
      4. the transfer is being made to allow for the effective management of the national prison muster.

      The decision maker must consider the amount of time between the transfer request and proposed transfer date.

      Inter prison transfers must also be informed by guidance in [M.07.04.06 Inter prison transfer of directed segregation prisoners].

      If this time frame is unreasonable in the individual prisoner's circumstances, the transfer request should be declined, or the proposed transfer date extended.

    2. Court hearings
      Except in unusual circumstances, prisoners should not be transferred if they are scheduled to attend a confirmed court hearing close to their current prison within the next four weeks.
      Prisoners must be transferred to another prison to attend a confirmed court hearing in cases where they are not being held at the prison closes to the relevant court.
    3. New Zealand Parole Board (NZPB) hearings
      Prisoners must not be transferred if they are schedules to attend a parole hearing before the NZPB within the next 10 weeks.
      In cases where it it necessary to transfer prisoners in this situation, staff must ensure the NZPB is notified. The Principal Case Manager at the transferring site must also liaise with their counterpart at the receiving site, to determine which site will complete the Parole Assessment Report (if not already completed).
    4. Programmes and employment
      Wherever possible, a prisoner must not be transferred if they have started a rehabilitative, cultural or reintegrative programme, or they are engaged in employment, so as not to disrupt their ability to complete that programme / engage in employment.
      This does not apply in cases where they are exited from a programme or employment, or they are being transferred due to a reclassification to maximum security.
    5. Prisoner's health and medical needs
      The health status of each prisoner must be considered, along with any potential negative impact the planned transfer could have on their oranga (physical and mental health and wellbeing). This includes risk of self-harm and/or suicide. Staff must consult with the prison Health team in cases where a person is actively receiving treatment or support for their health.
      Relevant information will be passed from the transferring site to the receiving site via the Health team. In cases where prisoners are transferred, they must be place in a unit suitable for their medical needs and health status to be appropriately managed.
      Prisoners must not be transferred if they have existing appointments / planned procedures with external health services, or their medical needs can only be managed at the site at which they are held.
    Watch Point

    Where one of these circumstances has applied, then on arrival at the destination, the prisoner must be allowed 1 free phone call within New Zealand to advise a member of his or her family of that destination.

M.04.03.05 Monitoring confirmed transfers

  1. Once a transfer has been approved, the escort arrangements are the responsibility of the prison population team. The team will ensure that each prisoner's transfer occurs in a timely manner and in accordance with the escort arrangements.
  2. Transfer details and escort arrangements are recorded in the PTR by the prison population team. All frontline staff with PTR access can view a list of scheduled transfer and details of each escort arrangement, including the date the prisoner will be transferred, how they will be escorted and which prison they will transfer to.
  3. Each prison site will monitor the list of approved transfers to have a high visibility of coming change to their site's population.

M.04.03.06 Transferring the prisoner

Watch Point

Communication between the sending prison and the receiving prison is important in regards to ensuring all risk factors and management strategies relating to prisoner(s) being transferred are known between sites, prior to transfer, to ensure the security of the site(s) and the safety of staff, the prisoner and others.

  1. The transferring prison must ensure that the sentence release date (SRD) is endorsed on the prisoner's file.
  2. The prisoner's file, sealed health file and phone contact files are prepared for the transfer and the transit conditions form is entered into IOMS.
  3. The prisoner's files and property are transferred in a safe and secure manner and are delivered to the receiving prison's receiving officer in accordance with the transit conditions form.
  4. Where prisoners with VNR status are transferred, the prison victim notification coordinator of the transferring prison must inform the prison notification coordinator of the receiving prison by telephone or email of the VNR status ans victim contact details and forward the hardcopy files as soon as possible afterwards marked "confidential".
  5. The original M.04.01.Form.01 Instructions for Escort is placed in the prisoner's file during the transfer; a duplicate copy is retained at the transferring prison, a copy given to the escorting officer and a copy is scanned to the receiving prison.
  6. Medication required for the duration of the transfer is delivered, in a sealed container, labelled and in individual doses, by the health unit staff.
  7. Escort staff advise the transferring prison when the transfer has been completed.