Prison escapes reach record low

Escapes from prisons have reached a record low, with Manawatu Prison among the least troublesome in the country.

Nationally, just one person escaped from custody in the previous financial year, and in the 2013/14 year to date there have been no escapes.

For Manawatu Prison, there have been no escapes since the 2005-2006 financial year, when one person escaped.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said custody escapes had been declining nationwide

They have decreased from 131 in the four-year period between 2002-2003 and 2007-2008, to 35 from 2008-2009 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.

A further $81.3m was being invested in upgrading five prisons and further improving security.

The funds would also provide better facilities for prisoner rehabilitation and training, she said.

Manawatu Standard