Prison Strip-Search Techniques Outdated

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 — 3:24 PM

A bill before the Law and Order Committee would give corrections officers a wider scope for conducting strip searches – which can find anything from drugs to weapons.

Senior corrections officer Beven Hanlon last week told the committee he had been involved in a situation “Where a prisoner had a roll of cannabis that was almost a foot long that was sticking out of his backside.

“The prisoner who tried to stab the officer in the back of a van had a six-inch piece of metal, which he had concealed up his backside, pulled out and tried to stab an officer with.

Mr Hanlon also gave the committee a graphic description of strip-search procedures, but new technology could make them a thing of the past.

Public Service Association organiser Graham Cuffley advocates wider use of electronic scanning devices, such as one currently in use at Auckland Prison.

“There’s technology today which enables [corrections officers] to carry out most of those tests without having to subject either the officer or the offender to the indignity of a strip search.”

He says there is talk of the technology being adopted in other prisons, something that Beven Hanlon welcomes.

“This isn’t a pleasant process, something we’re not interested in doing when you’ve got technology that can fix this problem. We just don’t see [the bill] as a requirement to change.”

The Law and Order Committee is due to report the Corrections Amendment Bill back to the house by August 28.

Article By Reesh Lyon

Audio from This & Other Select Committees:

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