About $4.5 million will be saved over a decade from reduced
prisoner transportation, including in Otago.
The Department of Corrections spent about $5.8 million
transporting prisoners nationwide in the 12 months to June
That figure did not include ''facility-related and corporate
overheads'', Corrections Services deputy national
commissioner Maria McDonald said.
She was responding to an Otago Daily Times request for
data under the Official Information Act.
Corrections was unable to separate the cost of transporting
Otago Corrections Facility prisoners from its national costs
It was also unable to separate the cost of court-related
prisoner transport, both at a prison level and national
Overall transportation costs included transfers to hospitals
and ''a small number of other appointments''.
The department expected to save about $4.5 million from its
total prisoner transport costs in the 10 years to 2020, with
the full installation of an audiovisual link system in
prisons and courts nationwide.
The AVL system meant some prisoners would not need to appear
in courts and was due to be installed in the Dunedin court
and Otago Corrections Facility in February 2015.
Corrections estimated the system would cut the number of
court hearings requiring prisoner transportation by 50% to
In 10 years, that would equate to a saving of about $2.5
million in transport costs, and about $2 million in staff
''These projections begin from the 2010-11 financial period
and are dependent on the programme of work to install AVL
facilities, and the level of uptake by judiciary, counsel and
other parties to court hearings,'' Ms McDonald said.
The system's added benefit of reducing the risk of prisoners
escaping in transit was a major factor in the decision to
implement it, which was expected to cost about $28 million.
''A prisoner escape can pose a significant risk to the safety
of staff and the public and lead to financial costs across
the justice sector. Furthermore, the implementation of AVL
will also allow for the more productive use of staff time.''
Fewer prisoners being transported meant Corrections would
probably have space in its vans for prisoners at present
being escorted by police, she said.
In the 2011-12 financial year, 1834 prisoners were
transported between the Otago Corrections Facility and
Police estimated they were involved in about 500 such trips a
year. At least two police staff had to accompany prisoners
being transported between jail and courts, and more were
assigned if a prisoner was deemed high risk.
Once fully installed, AVL was expected to be used in most of
the 40,000-odd remand court appearances in New Zealand each