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Justice advocates unhappy with Parole Board slip-up

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 03:38 PM

Justice advocates unhappy with Parole Board slip-up
8:29 pm on 28 July 2016

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Michael Cropp Wellington Local Government Reporter @m_cropp [email protected]

Prison reform supporters are frustrated that human error is being blamed for a prisoner's private information being sent to the wrong victim.

Prison bars, hands, generic

Photo: 123RF

Earlier this month, a woman whose name was suppressed, opened an envelope with a parole ruling on the man who raped her in 2004. But also included was extra paperwork on an inmate who was not related to her case.

She said the slip-up had left her shocked and paranoid about the details of her own case being misdirected in the mail.

The Parole Board
has apologised to the woman and has blamed a staff member for sending her the parole ruling on an inmate unrelated to her case.
Julia Whaipooti, co-chair of youth law advocacy group Just Speak

Julia Whaipooti Photo: SUPPLIED

The chairperson of JustSpeak, Julia Whaipooti, said it was unfair to blame it on one person. She said, while prisoners gave up many rights, privacy was not one of them.

"People in prison are at the liberty of the state, they have no control over what's happening," she said.

"They still have a right to privacy. Their information is held by the Parole Board, by Corrections, by [the Ministry of Justice], and they should have the confidence that information isn't going to be shared inappropriately."

Ms Whaipooti said the onus was on the state to make sure it protected the private information of prisoners and victims.

"It's a natural response for the public to go 'oh well what else is being shared'," she said. "Whether that's rational, whether that's statistically likely or otherwise, of course it will knock [the] public confidence in the processes that people's privacy is going to be protected."

The Labour Party's corrections spokesperson, Kelvin Davis, said it was unacceptable but was becoming all too common.

"We had this situation a year or so back where I think it was [the Ministry for Social Development] and ACC sharing peoples' information, private information," he said. "That's just unacceptable."

"Agencies shouldn't be doing this in this day and age, they should be more careful with peoples' information."

Mr Davis said sensitive documents should be double-checked before they were sent out, and the Parole Board needed to go through its records to make sure this was a one-off.

And he said the Board should extend its apology to the prisoner.

The Corrections Department said it provided some administrative support to the Parole Board, but it was not responsible for the breach.

The Parole Board said it could release any hearing outcomes as a matter of public record, but this was a mistake as the names and details were not redacted.

It said it dealt with about 8500 hearings each year and its primary concern was to make sure victims' information was not released.

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