March 23, 2021
Insights from women inside needed for prison reform
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says he is looking at the right way to formally apologise to wāhine whose treatment in Auckland Women’s Prison was described by a judge as degrading, cruel and inhumane.
Mr Davis has ordered corrections to make a wide range of changes, including overhauling the maximum security classification for women, rewriting the operations manual to align it with the Hōkai Rangi strategy to reduce the prison population, and reviewing the complaints system.
He says the treatment of Mihi Bassett and two other inmates was unacceptable, and he wants the trio involved in the changes.
"For my understanding they are in a space now where they are engaging with Corrections and I think the insights they will give will be invaluable to making sure the system is fit and does cater for the needs of Māori women. If we get this right it can be a template for fixing other aspects of the prison system and going into the men's prisons as well," Minister Davis says.
He says what happened to Mihi Bassett showed a lack of leadership, with no one stepping in early enough to say her treatment was unacceptable and wasn’t working.
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