Inmates post music videos from prison

New footage from inside a New Zealand prison has emerged online - this time seemingly of a murderer performing in music videos filmed in a jail cell.

The revelation comes in the same week footage emerged showing jailed gang members fighting, and others apparently taking drugs, drinking homemade alcohol and using a prison guard's walkie-talkie.

It is understood those videos were taken in Mt Eden Correctional Facility, which is privately run by Serco. They have sparked calls for investigations.

It is understood the man who features in the music videos is serving a life sentence with a minimum non parole period of 10 years for murder after a frenzied attack on a rival gang member.

The Herald on Sunday can reveal the man has been posting music videos to YouTube for the past two years, despite inmates being banned from using cellphones.

Several of his songs have made their way to the popular music streaming site SoundCloud, and the man has an active Facebook page.

He describes the music from his band as "songs from behind prison walls" where the videos are captured in a prison cell and feature other inmates. His most popular songs have been viewed 40,000 times.

Paul Tomlinson, Lower North regional commissioner for Corrections, said it was investigating the latest incident.

"The department will be investigating the claim that a prisoner has been directly operating a Facebook account," he said.

"If it is found that there has been any illegal use of a cellphone from prison or any other contraband, internal and police charges may follow."

Prisoners do not have free access to the internet and it may be possible for contraband, such as a Sim card, to be passed out of prison.

Labour Corrections spokesman Kelvin Davis said the latest revelation was "inappropriate".

"Corrections needs to take a look at how the phones are being smuggled in.

"It is a concern across all prisons in New Zealand and it's clear access to cellphones isn't just restricted to private prisons. Corrections needs to take a hard look at how [inmates] are able to get their hands on technology and how they use it."

Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar said it was alarming that prisoners had such easy access to mobile phones.

"From the victim's perspective, it's absolutely distressing to think that would happen. From a public perspective it's even more alarming that our prison system has become so offender friendly that this type of stuff is able to go on."

- Amy Maas, Herald on Sunday 

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