Friday, 10 April 2009


We expect better. This story in the Herald should read -

Press Release from Corrections on Prison Drug Rates.

New figures released by the Department of Corrections show the number of prisoners using drugs has hit a record low.

Acting prison services assistant general manager Leanne Field said the number of prisoners returning positive results after being randomly tested had plummeted to 10.5 per cent, the lowest rate ever recorded across all prisons in New Zealand.

"This is a major achievement given that 34 per cent of prisoners tested positive when testing began in the late 1990," Mrs Field said.

She said the reduction had been achieved through ongoing investment and improvement in prison security, and enhanced visitor and prisoner searching.

"We also undertake regular searches with our 12 drug dog teams and have a highly skilled intelligence team who work to stop criminal activities within prison."

Mrs Field said getting further declines was a challenge as prisoners and their associates in the community were inventive in identifying ways to smuggle contraband into prison.

She said there was also a focus on reducing the demand for drugs in prison through treatment clinics.


Come on = both the Herald, and NZPA who put the story out could have done better.
- some of the questions that need to be asked are:
  1. How many years has the Department been gathering statistics on random drug testing?
  2. What percentage of the prison population is drug tested?
  3. What prisons are tested?
  4. What drugs are the tests used for?
  5. Has the survey changed over time?
  6. What ratio of males and females are tested?
  7. What type of tests are used?
  8. What are the punishments for positive drug tests?
  9. What segment of the prison population are tested? Minimum, medium or maximum security ?
  10. How is the "randomness" of testing decided?
Simple stuff really. Readers deserve more. Journalists need to do more probing.
We just find it interesting that "P" probably wasn't even registering in 1990 - It certainly wasn't when we were working for Corrections in a medium security prison.
So we smell a rat.. a big stinky PR spinning rat.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Not only is it a crap story, the news is at least TEN days old.