Topic: Prison

Gangs in prison - Native Affairs Investigation

By Oriini Kaipara

The Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) is calling for an investigation into whether active gang members are visiting prisoners inside New Zealand’s Corrections Facilities.

Scott Guthrie from the SST told Maori Television’s Native Affairs reporter, Oriini Tipene-Leach, that the Department of Corrections had initially denied that gangs had access to prisoners.

But Mr Guthrie said he now has irrefutable evidence to show otherwise.

“The information that we had been given is that no gang members worked with prisoners in the prison system and we found that this is totally false and unfounded,” said Mr Guthrie.

When questioned by Tipene-Leach on whether he had proof, Mr Guthrie replied:

“Absolute 100% proof in the way of signed affidavits.  So we can back that up 100%.”

Native Affairs broke the story last week that the Sensible Sentencing Trust was questioning the conviction of murderer, Denis Luke, jailed in 1996 for the killing of a star police witness, Christopher Crean.  Luke’s whanau are appalled that he was denied parole after 20 years, claiming there was never enough evidence.

Since the exclusive, it’s been revealed that Black Power representative, Ngapari Nui, had been a regular visitor to Denis Luke in the role of support volunteer.

Ngapari Nui told Native Affairs tonight that he was awaiting the outcome of a review process that has been started by Corrections.

"This is not about me.  It's about Denis Luke," said Mr Nui.

Sensible Sentencing confirmed it had submitted their evidence to Corrections.

“We are looking to enlighten the public as to exactly who is working with our prisoners and what their background might be or their affiliation to any criminal element might be,” said Mr Guthrie.

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