No need to change the law around prison mail - Graeme Edgeler

Corrections already has the power to prevent threatening letters being sent from behind bars, a Wellington lawyer says. 

The Government is considering changes to the law around inmates sending mail from prison after the alleged Christchurch shooter was found to have sent mail to a fan that included a call to action.  

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the alleged shooter seeks to spread his message online and his letters have the ability to do wider harm if they get online.

"We need to make sure the legislation captures that kind of grotesque behaviour," she said on Monday.

But lawyer Graeme Edgeler told Newshub the only change needed is around how a prison manager reviews mail.

"Maybe they should be either taking advice from experts, maybe an expert could be making the decision, so if that was the change that might be okay."

Edgeler said Corrections already has the power to withhold mail where it could be dangerous or encourage somebody to commit an offence.

"They just need to be careful and actually do their job next time, which they've already admitted they failed to do last time."

Corrections CEO Christine Stevenson has acknowledged the letter from the alleged shooter, as well as several others from other inmates, should never have gotten out the prison gates.

"It contains material that could have been withheld under the [Corrections] Act and I would have withheld it, I think," Stevenson told Newshub last week.

Corrections has now set up an 0800 number an email address to report unsolicited prisoner letters.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: