V.01 Visitors application and prohibition
The purpose of any visit to a prisoner by a private visitor is to maintain the family and social relationships of the prisoner in order to promote the prisoner’s reintegration into the community on release. Staff will be professional, helpful and courteous when dealing with all visitors to the prison.
Staff processing requests or applications to visit must refer to C.01.Res.05 Types of contact restrictions for guidance on how no contact conditions, protection orders and restraining orders apply to visits.
In any situation where a member of staff believes that a child or young person is at risk of serious danger then steps should be taken to bring these concerns to the attention of Oranga Tamariki. This applies whether or not there is a protection or restraining order in force. Refer to C.01.Res.06 Safeguarding children and young persons during contact for further information.
Visitors application and consideration criteria
- Private and specified visitors will not be allowed to visit a prisoner unless:
- their application has been approved by the prison director (for child visit applications where a Child Protection Policy alert exists), reception/movements manager or other authorised person(s); or
- the visitor has a statutory right to attend the prison, or
- the visitor is acting as legal counsel for the prisoner, or
- the visitor is from a Government agency acting in a legal capacity (e.g. Police).
- Private and specified visitors will be required to give authority for the reception/movements manager to access any information relating to criminal offending held in official records that will verify the information they have given, and for subsequent checks of this information for as long as the visitor has approved visitor status.
- Staff considering the application must, before reaching a decision, refer to the Child Protection Policy and especially Section 5 Keeping children safe when having contact with prisoners.
V.01.01 Private visitor nomination
- A private visitor is defined as a visitor who is not a statutory visitor or a specified visitor.
- Private visitors also include visitors who are under the age of 18.
- Once a prisoner completes a V.01.Form.01.00 Request for Private Visitor Application the prison must send out the appropriate forms to the nominated person. If the nominated person is the subject of a contact restriction, staff must refer to C.01.Res.05 Types of contact restrictions.
- Where there is a contact restriction, the protected person must get in contact with the prison asking for a visit, before any application forms can be sent to them. The exception to this is a NCC, in which case even if the protected person does get in contact asking for a visit then (unless there is a specific exemption from court) no forms can be sent out and no visits are allowed.
Unless a condition of the restriction permits contact for example, a NCC may have an exemption allowing visits). Corrections staff are not permitted to contact the protected person on the prisoners behalf to seek consent for the visit or any other contact.
If the protected person wishes to visit they must contact the prison of their own free will and request the visit.
- Where the prisoner has nominated a private visitor who is under the age of 18, the form(s) will be sent to the visitor’s guardian in the community (where appropriate and pursuant to 3. above). If the guardian is not available, or the guardian is not appropriate to provide consent for the visit, then the form(s) can be sent to any other person that would be appropriate to provide consent in the circumstances (including the child applicant).
- The visitor or the visitor’s guardian (in the case of a visitor under the age of 18) must complete the application and return it in person or by post to the prison.
V.01.02 Pre-approval process for private and specified visitor
- On receipt of either the V.01.Form.01.01 Private Visitor Application – Adult Visitor, or V.01.Form.01.02 Private Visitor Application - Child Visitor or V.01.Form.02 Specified visitor application, or V.01.Form.07 Kaiwhakamana Application, or V.01.Form.08 Fautua Pasefika Application, or V.01.Form.09 Volunteer Application designated staff must:
- check that the form has been fully completed
- accurately enter the visitor’s details in the visitor screen in IOMS. If the visitor is under the age of 18, staff must select “Minor” in the “Visitor Type” drop down menu.
- complete the following security checks by checking the visitor records in IOMS to see if the private visitor:
- have ever served a sentence of imprisonment and if so when
- is currently on bail
- has been convicted of an offence in the last 2 years
- find relevant identities using the Query Identity interface
- use Police Identity Screen to access Conviction History and Active Charge interfaces
- identify any matters requiring further information or investigation and bring it to the attention of the prison director (or delegate) or the advisory panel.
- If the private visitor is under the age of 18 and the prisoner has a Child Protection Policy alert, the visit application will automatically populate to the child visitor assessment screen. The child visitor assessment screen will ensure the advisory panel members provide input on the application, and this will also ensure the prison director actions are completed.
- If the private visitor is under the age of 18, and the prisoner does not have a Child Protection Policy alert, designated staff must also:
- check for other indications the prisoner may pose any risks toward the child visitor.
- consult with the reception/movements manager as to whether an application should be placed before the advisory panel for advice.
- make recommendations to the reception/movements manager on whether the visitor should be approved, denied, or prohibited if the application is not going to be considered by the advisory panel.
- prepare V.01.Form.01.06 Child Visitor Approval Notification, or V.01.Form.01.07 Child Visitor Approval Notification – with conditions or V.01.Form.01.08 Private Visitor - Deny Approval Notification and, where applicable V.01.Form.01.13 Visitor Prohibition Order, for the reception/movements manager’s signature (these must be printed on Corrections letterhead).
V.01.02.01 Private Visitor nomination for private visitor aged under 18 in the care of the Oranga Tamariki
- If the prisoner has advised that the nominated visitor is a child under the age of 18 who is in the care of Oranga Tamariki staff are to:
- obtain, from the prisoner, the visitor’s full name (including any known aliases), the visitors date of birth and gender.
- email the details obtained to firstname.lastname@example.org using secure email (SEEmail).
- child visit staff will then liaise with the Oranga Tamariki National Contact Centre (NCC) to confirm that the child is in Oranga Tamariki care or not.
- if the nominated visitor is in Oranga Tamariki care, child visit staff will confirm this to the prison of origin and will supply the prison with the email address of the assigned social worker.
If the NCC advises that the visitor is not in their care staff must notify the prisoner.
- if Oranga Tamariki confirm care of the visitor, then V.01.Form.01.14 Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children consent for child to visit prison must be completed and sent to the visitor’s social worker using secure email. (An email template for use in these circumstances is included in the resources as V.01.Res.03 Email template.)
- the social worker will return the completed application using secure email.
- following the outcome of the application, staff must send the visits decision, either approval letter (V.01.Form.01.06 Child Visitor Approval Notification) or (V.01.Form.01.07 Child Visitor Approval Notification - with conditions) or deny approval letter (V.01.Form.01.08 Private Visitor - Deny Approval Notification) whichever is relevant, to the assigned social worker using secure email.
V.01.03 Visitor application considerations
- A visitor’s current or past offending should not result in an automatic refusal.
- The reception/movements manager may deny approval if the purpose of the visit is not likely to maintain the family and social relationship of the prisoner in order to promote the prisoner’s reintegration into the community on release.
- The reception/movements manager under delegated authority may deny approval if:
- the private visitor fails or refuses to provide any information under Corrections Regulations 2005, regulation 106A or 106B; or
- the private visitor provides information which is reasonably believed to be false; or
- the private visitor refuses to provide authority to any specified person to have access to information contained in official records that will verify the information given; or
- the child’s guardian, outside of the prison, does not consent to the child visiting the prisoner.
- Before any decision to approve or deny approval to the visitor is made, under 3 above, the applicant may be given the opportunity to:
- provide any information that has been omitted; or
- comment on the information believed to be false: or
- provide the appropriate authority, or consent; or
- comment on the specific reasons why the guardian consent for the child to visit has been withheld.
- The reception/movements manager may deny approval for a non-statutory visitor from visiting a particular prisoner, several prisoners or the prison, if satisfied on reasonable grounds that a visit by the person to a prisoner, prisoners or the prison is likely to adversely affect:
- the security, discipline or good order of the prison; or
- the welfare, chances of successful rehabilitation, or the safety of the prisoner; or
- the welfare or safety of any person in the prison, including the visitor.
- The reception/movements manager may exclude a visitor if that visitor is currently prohibited from another prison.
V.01.04 Advisory Panel
- Applications for a visitor who is under the age of 18 to visit a prisoner with a Child Protection Policy alert in IOMS must be considered by the advisory panel.
- All applications considered by the advisory panel must be processed through the child visitor assessment screen in IOMS.
- When a child visit application is entered into the visitor screen in IOMS the application will either:
- automatically populate to the child visitor assessment screen (where the prisoner has a Child Protection Policy alert), or
- populate to the child visitor assessment screen if the designated staff member decides that it is appropriate to have the application considered by the advisory panel (where the prisoner does not have a Child Protection Policy alert).
- The requirements for the advisory panel considering such applications are described in the Terms of Reference for Advisory Panel.
- The advisory panel must consider the decision making guidance detailed in V.01.03 Visitor applications considerations and V.01.Res.02 Child visits to prisoners with a Child Protection Policy alert – decision making framework.
- Both documents referenced in 4 and 5 above can be found under Related Links / Resources.
- Once a child visit application has been populated to the child visitor assessment screen, all core panel members must enter their assessment of the application and their recommendation. Guest panel members are able to enter their assessment of the application when required.
- The prison director must action all child visit applications once all core panel members have provided their assessment and recommendation. The prison director must enter their decision in the child visitor assessment screen. The prison director will either approve, approve with conditions, decline, or refer the application to an “in person” panel.
- If an application is referred to an “in person” panel, the prison director must enter the decision made at, or after, the panel meeting into the child visitor assessment screen.
V.01.05 Prison director to determine nature of private visit with conditions
- If a visit has conditions placed on it, those conditions will be determined by the prison director, having regard to the facilities available in the prison. For example if the decision is that non-contact visits are allowed but booth visits are not available, the prison director may determine that Audio Visual Link (AVL) or fully supervised visits be allowed.
- Visit conditions will be recorded by the prison director in the child visitor assessment screen.
V.01.06 Notifying private visitor application
- Prison staff are to enter the status and outcome of all the private visitor applications into IOMS (including all child applications), except for child visit applications that have been considered by the advisory panel in the IOMS child visitor assessment screen.
- For visitor applications that have been considered by the advisory panel and decided by the prison director, the decision entered into the child visits assessment screen in IOMS will populate back to the visits applications screen including any conditions that may apply to the visit.
- Where any application is approved without conditions, the reception/movements manager must complete and sign V.01.Form.01.04 Private Visitor Approval Notification and/or V.01.Form.01.06 Child Visitor Approval Notification and the appropriate notification must be given by hand or posted to the visitor's last known address or in the case of a child the guardian's last known address.
- Where any application is approved but with conditions, the conditions of the visit must be noted on either V.01.Form.01.05 Private Visitor Approval Notification – with conditions or V.01.Form.01.07 Child Visitor Approval Notification – with conditions, whichever is applicable and the appropriate notification must be completed and signed by the reception/movements manager and given by hand or posted to the visitor's last known address or in the case of a child the guardian's last known address.
- Where any application is approved with or without conditions the reception/movements manager must complete V.01.Form.01.10 Visitor Application Decision - Notification to Prisoner to advise the prisoner in writing of the decision and give the form to the prisoner and place a copy of the form on the prisoner's file.
- Where an application to visit has been denied the reception/movements manager completes and signs V.01.Form.01.08 Private Visitor - Deny Approval Notification and the Deny Approval Notification must be given by hand or posted to the visitor's last known address or in the case of a child the guardian's last known address. The notification must state the reason for declining the visitor (these have to relate to one or more of the factors listed under V.01.03 Visitor application considerations (2 or 3) and must not breach the prisoner's or any victim's privacy).
- Where an application to visit has been denied the reception/movements manager must complete V.01.Form.01.10 Visitor Application Decision - Notification to Prisoner to advise the prisoner in writing of the decision and give the form to the prisoner and place a copy of the form on the prisoner's file.
V.01.07 Review of a denied application or an approval with conditions
- A prisoner or visitor may apply to the Deputy National Commissioner for a review of the prison visit decision.
- Once a visitor has been advised of their application decision, they may request V.01.Form.01.15 Prison Visit Review Form – Visitor Approved With Conditions (if the decision was ‘approved with conditions’) or V.01.Form.01.16 Prison Visit Review Form – Visitor Declined (if the decision was ‘declined’).
- The visitor will complete all sections of the applicable form and will:
- email to ComplaintsResponseDesk@CORRECTIONS.GOVT.NZ (preferred); or
- post to:
Deputy National Commissioner
Department of Corrections
Private Box 1206
- hand the form to staff (if completing it at the prison) who will then email as detailed at a. above to the CRD (or make a copy, hand that copy to the visitor and post the original as detailed in b. above).
- If a prisoner wishes to review the prison visit decision, they must register the review request via the Complaints process detailed at Prisoner complaints and must include the reasons for applying to have the decision reviewed. When entering the complaint on the IOMS Maintain Complaints screen, use the primary category ‘Personal and Official Visitors’ and secondary category ‘Review Decision’.
- The Deputy National Commissioner must review the decision within 21 days of receiving the review request, and may consult with any relevant staff member.
- The Deputy National Commissioner may:
- confirm the decision, or
- reverse the decision, or
- modify the decision.
- The Deputy National Commissioner may refuse to review a decision if satisfied that the reasons for the review are substantially the same as those in a review previously undertaken, and there have been no material changes in circumstances since that review. The Deputy National Commissioner must advise both the visitor applicant and the prisoner in writing if the review request is refused.
- The Deputy National Commissioner will complete section C of the IOMS complaint process for any review requests from prisoners.
- The Deputy National Commissioner will advise the relevant prison director of the review outcome.
- The Complaints Response Desk (based at National Office) will complete the V.01.Form.01.17 Review of Visit Approved With Conditions or V.01.Form.01.18 Review of Declined Visit as applicable and will send:
- 1 copy to the visitors last known address
- 1 copy to the relevant prison, for prison staff to give to the prisoner.
- If the review outcome decision is different to the original decision, prison staff must update the IOMS Visitor Applications screen (see V.01.06 Notifying private visitor application above).
V.01.08 Issuing a prohibition order to a private visitor
- The reception/movements manager may issue a V.01.Form.01.13 Visitor Prohibition Order if the grounds for prohibition as outlined in V.01.03 Visitor application considerations (5) are met.
- The V.01.Form.01.13 Visitor Prohibition Order must:
- be completed in its entirety, and
- state the reason for prohibiting the visitor (these have to relate to one or more of the factors listed in section V.01.03 Visitor application considerations and must not breach the prisoner’s or any victim’s privacy).
- The reception/movements manager, after signing a V.01.Form.01.13 Visitor Prohibition Order, must reasonably promptly ensure that:
- it is given to the prohibited visitor or sent to the visitor’s last known address, or in the case of a child, it is given to the child’s guardian, and
- a copy of the order is given to a prisoner or prisoners if the prohibition relates to them.
- Prison staff are to enter status and outcome of the private visitor application into IOMS.
- A prohibition is in force from when the order is signed until the close of the day of its expiry.
- At the expiration of a prohibition order, a person who has been denied approval to visit may reapply for approval to visit.
- An officer may exclude a non-statutory visitor from a prison if a prohibition order made by the prison director of another prison applies to the visitor. The reason for the prohibition at the first prison may be considered in the approval process if the visitor applies for approval to visit another prison.
V.01.09 Review of a visitor prohibition order
- A prohibited visitor, or if a visitor is under the age of 18, the guardian of the prohibited visitor, and any prisoner to whom a copy of a visitor prohibition order has been given, may apply from time to time to the Chief Inspector of Corrections for a review of the order.
- The application must be in writing, and must state the applicant’s reason(s) for seeking the review.
- If a visitor makes the application and the order relates to a prisoner or prisoners, the order must state the name of the prisoner or prisoners.
- The Chief Inspector of Corrections will review the visitor prohibition order within 21 days of receiving the application, and may consult with any relevant staff member.
- The Chief Inspector of Corrections may:
- confirm a visitor prohibition order,
- reverse a visitor prohibition order, or
- modify a visitor prohibition order.
- The Chief Inspector of Corrections may refuse to review a visitor prohibition order if satisfied that the reasons for the review are substantially the same as those in a review previously undertaken, and there have been no material changes since that review.
- The prohibited visitor and the particular prisoner(s) the visitor wished to visit must be advised, in writing, of the result of the review application as reasonably promptly after the review has been completed.
- Unless a visitor prohibition order is reversed or modified, it will prevent a visitor from visiting the prisoner or prisoners named in the order. If the order relates to the prison itself, the visitor will be refused entry to the prison, and all prison property including car-parks.
V.01.10 Approving specified visitor application
- If the reception/movements manager approves the application for a visitor to have specified visitor status, they must sign and send (or hand) V.01.Form.04 Specified visitor approval notification to the applicant along with a copy of the Department's Code of Conduct.
- The prison director may impose conditions on the specified visitor and the visitor may review those conditions (see section V.01.12 New prison visit applications on or after 17 September 2017 below).
- A request for the applicant to attend a Health and Safety and site induction will be arranged for the first visit.
- Prison staff are to enter the status and outcome of the specified visitor application into APPE (Approved Provider Prison Entry system).
- All approved specified visitors are to be issued with an APPE card for their use at the completion of approval and induction.
V.01.11 Declining specified visitor application
- The reception/movements manager must complete V.01.Form.06 Specified visitor decline notification if they have declined an application on V.01.Form.02 Specified visitor application.
- The reception/movements manager must provide reasons for declining the application for a specified visitor.
- Prison staff will hand or post V.01.Form.06 Specified visitor decline notification (to the address provided on the V.01.Form.02 Specified visitor application) depending on the application.
- Prison staff are to enter the status and outcome of the specified visitor application into APPE (Approved Provider Prison Entry system).
V.01.12 New prison visit applications on or after 17 September 2017
- New visitor applications on or after 17 September 2017 will be either:
- adult (applicant is 18 or over)
- child (applicant is under 18).
V.01.13 16 and 17 year old approved adult visitors that make a booking on or after 17 September 2017
(Please note that this process will no longer apply after 16 September 2019)
- Some 16 and 17 year olds are already visiting prisons as approved adults. These people are no longer considered adult visitors but will be subject to the adult accompanying assessment below.
- When you receive a prison visit booking request, you must:
- check the visitors age in IOMS Visitor Details screen
- refer all visitors aged 16 or 17 to the security manager (or equivalent).
- The security manager will make a recommendation to the prison director whether it is appropriate for the 16 or 17 year old to continue visiting without an accompanying adult.
- The prison director will make the final decision.
- The decision must be entered into IOMS Visitor Application screen.
- The visitor must be notified of the outcome using the V.01.Form.01.19 - 16-17 Year Old Visitor – Accompanying Adult.
- The prisoner must be notified of the outcome using the V.01.Form.01.10 Visitor Application Decision – Notification to Prisoner.
Contact restriction can always be a consideration in deciding whether to approve or refuse visits.
Prison directors cannot refuse to allow an adult to visit a prisoner solely because there is a contact restriction in place (unless that restriction is a NCC that does not contain any exemptions to allow visits).
V.01.14 Pending adult applications submitted by 16 and 17 year olds prior to 17 September 2017
(Please note that this process will no longer apply after all pending applications have been processed)
- There will be some adult applications submitted by 16 and 17 year olds prior to 17 September 2017 where a decision is still pending.
- These applications must follow the pre 17 September 2017 process for adult applications.