Wellington, December 5, 2017
I welcome the Ombudsman’s inspection reports into prisons.
This afternoon, the Ombudsman has released a report into an inspection of Christchurch Men’s Prison and three follow up reports into Manawatu, Rolleston and Arohata Prisons.
It is important that we have a watchdog able to make unannounced inspections of our prisons and take an independent view.
As Corrections Minister, I welcome the Ombudsman’s findings.
If we want to reduce the prison population, we cannot just lock people up – the focus has to be on rehabilitation. For this to be successful we must have the right culture in our prisons and the facilities have to be up to scratch.
Investing in new facilities
Corrections was making progress on addressing issues raised by the Ombudsman, including investing in new facilities at Manawatu, Rolleston and Christchurch Men’s Prisons; investing $11.6 million to develop a new national model of care for At Risk prisoners, and working to better balance prisoner privacy and safety.
I am concerned about the review of Christchurch Men’s Prison, which was unacceptable.
Prisoners need feel safe, so that they can concentrate on rehabilitation and treatment.
That is one way of reducing reoffending. There has been a change in the management team at the prison and I expect the culture to change.
I have made it clear to Corrections that I expect our prisons to be a place where people serve their time, receive the rehabilitation they require and reintegrate back into communities, not to return.
The inspection reports are available here.
Kevin Davis is Corrections Minister of New Zealand.