GUEST BLOG: Arthur Taylor – The lengths corrections will go to keep prisoners ignorant of their rights

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Was going through some old records from Pare looking for stuff for my book when I came across this…how Corrections used to do its utmost to restrict my contact with other prisoners so I couldn’t educate them.
At one stage they even built me a jail within a jail there and held me in solitary for the best part of a year. Now the subject of a $500,000 claim for damages to be heard in February 2022 in Wellington High Court, anticipated to take two weeks.
The Brownie mentioned is still inside doing 28 years but Wayne is out and doing well and I talk to him often helping to readjust to life in the community and dealing with Probation:
“This is the sort of nonsense I have to deal with on a daily basis. Corrections hates me assisting other prisoners with their legal cases, other problems and complaints so they try to make it as difficult as possible. It’s one of the main reasons they hold me in Pare Max when I’m 3 points off minimum security now, to keep my contact with other prisoners to the bare minimum.
Here is a trail of correspondence relating to the latest one. I’ve been helping the two guys in question for a long time, Wayne and I have been writing to each other for years and Brownie ever since he came to Pare. I recently sent them copies of supporting material they needed, like Corrections PCO 1 complaints procedure and instructions on how Corrections must respond to complaints, along with a copy of the up-to-date Corrections Regulations to Brownie and a copy of the Corrections Act to Wayne.
Brownie’s in B Block here and Wayne’s in Rimutaka which is the biggest prison (numbers wise) in NZ. In the High Medium Units there they try and rule through intimidation and fear (specially of being uprooted and sent to Pare) and jump all over anyone they think is a troublemaker.
Unfortunately for them, as well as muscle, Wayne’s got a good brain on him and is a thinker too. (His prison moniker is “Wayniac”!
I handed this mail in as per normal to Corrections to deliver (all the correct postage pre-paid) and after I heard they hadn’t got it I made inquiries as to where it was. This letter from Andy Langley came back. I’d say he’s had legal advice he couldn’t stop the mail to the guys and has looked around for some bullshit excuse to try and cover up why he didn’t notify me he had withheld the mail from the post.
After all he couldn’t use the REAL reason— that they don’t want prisoners having information that enables them to challenge Corrections on the inhumane treatment many of them are subjected to and stand up to bad treatment and abuse.
As you can see I don’t take things like this lying down and have written back to him and asked to see a Visiting Justice.
Unfortunately all this is very time consuming and takes me away from other work— but it has to be done because I’ve learnt from experience the moment they get away with something like this— it encourages them to push on with bigger and badder things! Looks like Andy Langley’s much vaunted “new broom” is Tom Sherlock’s old one – sporting a new handle by way of disguise though……”
Arthur Taylor is TDBs Prisoner Rights Blogger

3 COMMENTS

  1. Laws/rights are only as good or bad as the people administering them .. moral corruption leads to poor outcomes. Would be interesting to know if a majority of prisoners voted for the Labour Plantation.

  2. I don’t want to be cold-hearted as I don’t know the inmates involved but what part of punishment do they not understand? Did they treat their victims humanely? Did their victims get the benefit of the laws that applied to them when the inmates committed their offence against them? If not, why would they expect better treatment? If they don’t like it, they should have changed their ways during the (presumably) many years that they were only getting slaps on the wrist.

    • Anyone concerned about victims should be advocating for better treatment, rehabilitation of prisoners.

      After all we can’t have a cop at the bottom of every street, and rehabilitating just one prisoner means no more victims for him/her.

      The “tough on crime” brigade have had their way for decades. Things have only got worse, prisons are a very toxic environment.

      Time to follow the successful examples from Scandinavia, and even Texas, treat prisoners humanely, respect their rights and there’s a far better chance of them rehabilitating and respecting others rights.

      Or… do you want more of the same failed policies with ever increasing numbers of victims? It’s a no brainer isn’t it?

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