National MP Simon Power’s attempt to stop prisoner Tim Selwyn from blogging is an attack on free speech, Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson Keith Locke says.
“Prison bars are to stop the inmates from escaping, not the truth,” Mr Locke says.
Tim Selwyn, who was recently imprisoned for the rare crime of sedition, has been contributing to the blogsite Tumeke from prison via letters to the site’s administrator. National’s Corrections Spokesperson Simon Power has demanded that Corrections put a stop to the process.
“I enjoy reading Tim Selwyn’s blog, and I congratulate him on his public-spiritedness in using it to convey the realities of prison life to the public,” Mr Locke says.
“There is not the slightest indication that Mr Selwyn’s posts are endangering prison security. In fact, Corrections have indicated that they have no concerns at all about the content of his letters.
“Apparently Simon Power wants us to go back to the dark ages, when prisoners had no contact with the outside world, as banning prisoners from writing letters would be the only way to put a stop to Mr Selwyn’s blogging. Mr Power doesn’t seem to understand the first thing about prisoner rights or rehabilitation.
“In fact, there is a strong case to be made that creative endeavours like writing can help to put inmates on the path of rehabilitation and ultimately reduce recidivism.
“Mr Selwyn is also performing a valuable public service by bringing the realities of prison life to light, like the violent confrontation described in his most recent post. The public have a right to know what goes on in the prison system.
“I hope to hear more from Mr Selwyn about the issue of prison overcrowding; I had planned to visit him today, but due to pressure of numbers he has been moved from Mt Eden to a Hawkes Bay prison, preventing many of his friends from visiting him,” Mr Locke says.