Fewer prisoners escaping

Last updated 05:00 07/02/2014

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Escapes from prisons have reached a record low.

Nationally, just one person escaped from custody in the previous financial year while, in the 2013-14 year so far, there have been no escapes.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said custody escapes had been declining nationwide, having decreased from 131 in the four-year period between 2002-03 and 2007-08, to 35 from 2008-09 to the present.

Escapes from custody include prison breakouts, absconding, escape from escort and breach of temporary release.

Mrs Tolley said that, although there was always the potential for serious incidents, the figures highlighted improvements in security and risk management from the Department of Corrections.

Along with rehabilitation programmes, a $27.8 million expansion of audio-visual links to 14 district courts and nine prisons had resulted in fewer prisoners having to leave their secure facility to make court appearances, removing any threat of escape from an escort.

An extra $81.3m was being invested in upgrading five prisons, further improving security, as well as providing better facilities for prisoner rehabilitation and training, she said.

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- The Dominion Post

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