March 01, 2021
Iwi vital in prison mental health plan
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says a new 100-bed forensic unit at Waikeria Prison promises a new way of dealing with inmates with mental health problems.
The Covid alert levels means a consultation hui this week with Maniapoto and Ngāti Raukawa has had to be postponed.
The unit is part of a planned 600-bed redevelopment, including the replacement for the old jail unit burned down in the New Year riot, which is due to open early next year.
Mr Davis says the involvement of iwi is critical.
"It is still a prison but even the design elements will be different so there will be a lot more access to grass, sensory experiences so that people with mental health issues are simply locked up and left to fend for themselves until the sentence is over but the partnership with the two local iwi and the Waikato DHB is new and innovative and it is going to be an entirely different way of working,”
Minister Davis says over the past three years the Government has managed to safely reduce the prison population by 18 percent, including a 16 percent drop in Māori inmates, reversing the trend under the National-Act-Māori Party Government that required a new billion dollar prison to be built every three years.
Copyright © 2021, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com