June 19, 2018
Prisoners’ voices missing from reforms
Kim Workman welcomes the Government’s decision to scrap plans for a 3000-bed mega-prison at Waikeria, but says there are unsatisfactory elements in the approved plan.
This includes inmates sharing cells, which is a breach of United Nations human rights standards, and the fact many low and medium security inmates will end up being housed in a high security environment, with all the restrictions that come with it.
He says it’s good the Government intends to have a summit on corrections policy later in the year, but it needs to include the consumers – staff and prisoners.
"Prisoners have a really important perspective and they can provide a lot of wisdom to policy advice and say 'that won't work for these reasons.' Perhaps we might engage with those Māori prisoners and say 'what is it that is going to make you change your life, what is going to work for you?'" Mrs Workman says.
He says the proposed mental health unit at Waikeria is a positive step, but more community mental health facilities and drug and alcohol courts could stop many people ending up in prison.
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