February 22, 2021
Corrections slammed for treatment of wāhine
Amnesty International says a judge’s findings about the treatment of a prisoner at Auckland Region Women’s Prison has confirmed some of its most grave concerns about what’s happening in the prison system.
Judge David McNaughton said Mihi Bassett and Karma Cripps were subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment, as well as excessive use of force.
Excessive force including pepper spray was used to extract them from their cells, and they were made to lie down on the floor to receive meals.
The women had to remove their underwear in front of male guards in order to get clean pairs and were, at times, denied toiletries and sanitary products.
The judge described their treatment as excessive, degrading and fundamentally inhumane.
The judge found Barrett’s long term cell confinement and segregation was particularly harsh.
Executive director Meg de Ronde says that raised questions for Amnesty International about whether prolonged solitary confinement used as punishment in breach of international law as it could amount to psychological torture.
She says during court proceedings Corrections seemed to be ignorant of its own laws.
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