Prisoners incarcerated for violent crimes

Mark Hanna made this Official Information request to Department of Corrections

Currently waiting for a response from Department of Corrections, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details and exceptions).

From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koutou,

In two recent news articles, RNZ has cited Department of Corrections chief custodial officer Neil Beales, and the Department of Corrections more generally, as the sources behind these statistics:

“[Department of Corrections chief custodial officer Neil] Beales said 75 percent of prisoners were incarcerated for violent crimes.”
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/4249...

“The Department of Corrections said 75 percent of prisoners had been convicted of violent crimes”
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/4253...

It is my understanding, based on prison population statistics published on the Department of Corrections website for June 2020, that only 63% of prisoners are serving a sentence of imprisonment. The remaining 37% are being held on remand.
https://www.corrections.govt.nz/resource...

Annual sentenced prisoner population data published on the Stats NZ website show that 27% of prisoners in 2019 were serving sentences for offences under the categories of “Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations”, “Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences”, and “Property damage and environmental pollution”. Though I am not an expert in this area, I do not believe any of these categories of offences would be considered “violent crimes”.
http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Inde...

Both of these statistics appear wholly incompatible with the claim that 75% of prisoners in New Zealand are incarcerated for violent crimes, so I am confused as to what exactly the Department of Corrections is claiming to be true and what evidence has been relied on.

I am not certain if RNZ may have misinterpreted what they have been told by Corrections, if the data published by Corrections and Stats NZ is inaccurate, if I may have misinterpreted this data, or if Corrections has misled RNZ and - by extension - misled the public.

Please release the following information:

1a. How any prisoners are there in New Zealand?
1b. What offences does Corrections consider to fall within the category of “violent crimes”?
1c. How many prisoners are serving sentences of imprisonment for violent crimes?

Please also release the following information, regarding the two RNZ articles I cited above:

2a. What specific representations were made to RNZ regarding the number or proportion of prisoners who had been convicted of or are incarcerated for violent crimes?
2b. What evidence does the Department of Corrections have to substantiate these representations?

Please also explain any relevant caveats that should be kept in mind when analysing this information.

Please provide this information in an accessible, searchable format.

If any part of my request is unclear, please don't hesitate to contact me.

If any of the information that I have requested is unavailable or would be difficult to retrieve, but similar information might be readily available, I would be happy to discuss altering or refining my request.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

Link to this

From: Info@Corrections
Department of Corrections

Hello,

 

Thank you for contacting the Department of Corrections; this is an
automatic reply to confirm we have received your email – please do not
reply to this email.

 

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If your query is about Corrections’ response to COVID-19, including
visiting prisons or our management of prisoners and offenders in the
community, please check our FAQs using the link below:

[1]https://www.corrections.govt.nz/news/lat...

 

If you wish to get in touch with a prisoner, note that each prison has an
email address you can write to:
[2]https://www.corrections.govt.nz/working_...

 

If you wish to contact the prison directly, please refer to the contact
details on our website:

[3]https://www.corrections.govt.nz/about_us...

 

Depending on the nature of your request you may not receive an official
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Be assured we will endeavour to respond to you as quickly as possible.

 

If you are a friend or family member of someone in prison, you can find
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If you are requesting information we are required to comply with the
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Act 2002. This may include seeking consent from the prisoner to release
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Kind regards,

The Ministerial Services Team

[10][Department of Corrections request email]

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References

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Link to this

Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

Today, RNZ has published the same claim again, from a third Corrections source:

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/4253...

"Corrections national commissioner Rachel Leota said of those inside, about 75 percent of prisoners are in for a violent crime."

Link to this

From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koutou,

I see that this morning RNZ has published another variation of the claim that is the subject of my request. In case this information may help you to find the source of the claim within Corrections, here is a link to the article and the relevant excerpt:

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/4253...

"Corrections national commissioner Rachel Leota said of those inside, about 75 percent of prisoners are in for a violent crime."

Also, I would like to ask that my request be treated as urgent. The Media Council's complaints procedure requires that any complaint about a particular article must be made to the editor, online author, or publisher within one calendar month of its publication.

Depending on whether or not Corrections can provide me with evidence to substantiate this claim, I may find it necessary to complain to RNZ with the intent to potentially escalate this complaint to the Media Council. This process would require me to complain no later than October 1, in order to include the first appearance of this claim that I have found. I would appreciate it if you could please ensure that I receive a response with sufficient time to prepare such a complaint by October 1.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

Link to this

From: Info@Corrections
Department of Corrections


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Kia ora,

 

Thank you for your email of 06 September 2020 requesting information
relating to Prisoners incarcerated for violent crimes .

 

Please be advised your request has been received, and will be considered
under the Official Information Act 1982.

 

Please note that our response letter to you (with your personal details
redacted), and any enclosed documents, may be published on Corrections’
website.

 

Kind regards,

 

Ministerial Services

Department of Corrections, Ara Poutama Aotearoa

a: National Office, Freyberg Building, 20 Aitken Street, Wellington, 6011

[1][IMG] [2][IMG] [3][IMG] [4][IMG] [5][IMG]

 

 

 

 

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Link to this

From: Info@Corrections
Department of Corrections


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Kia ora,

 

Thank you for your email of 6 September 2020 requesting information
relating to prisoners in custody for violent crimes.

 

Please be advised your request has been received, and will be considered
under the Official Information Act 1982.

 

Please note that our response letter to you (with your personal details
redacted), and any enclosed documents, may be published on Corrections’
website.

 

Ngā mihi | Kind regards,

Ministerial Services

Department of Corrections, Ara Poutama Aotearoa

a: National Office, Freyberg Building, 20 Aitken Street, Wellington, 6011

[1][IMG] [2][IMG] [3][IMG] [4][IMG] [5][IMG]

 

 

 

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Link to this

From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe,

It has now been 15 working days since the Department of Corrections received my request. I would like to remind you that the OIA requires that decisions be communicated as soon as reasonably practicable, and that the 20 working day deadline is not a target.

I would also like to remind you that I have requested that my request be treated as urgent, so that I might receive the response in time to prepare a complaint to the Media Council by Thursday 1 October. If you anticipate that you will not be able to communicate your decision on my request prior to this date, I would appreciate if you would indicate this sooner rather than later.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

Link to this

Things to do with this request

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