Department of Corrections applies prison visiting rules too rigidly

Prisoners / Corrections
Ombudsmen Act 1975
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Ombudsmen Act 1975
Hon Anand Satyanand
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Special family visit to inmate denied—decision contrary to Department's national standard—prison agreed to review its local instructions to ensure consistency with spirit and intent of national standard      

A long-term high security inmate was denied a special visit with his family who lived at a considerable distance from the prison and who were unable to make regular visits. The Department of Corrections has a national standard that ‘Family/whanau visits are encouraged and supported’ with each prison having its own criteria for implementing the policy.       

In response to the Ombudsman’s inquiries, the prison acknowledged that it may have been applying its criteria rigidly. The prison agreed to review its local criteria to ensure that they were consistent with the spirit and intent of the national standard.   

This case note is published under the authority of the Ombudsmen Rules 1989. It sets out an Ombudsman’s view on the facts of a particular case. It should not be taken as establishing any legal precedent that would bind an Ombudsman in future.

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