June 02, 2021
Prison conditions too slow to improve
The Office of the Ombudsman says unannounced inspections of two prisons have highlighted the undignified and barren conditions of prisons and a failure to follow up on recommendations.
Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier today published reports on follow-up inspections of Christchurch Men’s Prison in February 2020 and Whanganui Prison in September 2020.
He says recommendations he made after previous visits had either not been achieved or only partially achieved.
Corrections had acted on his recommendation to investigate use of force in Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Intensive Supervision Unit, but review of video footage showed there were still a high number of incidents where multiple staff used force on vulnerable prisoners to gain compliance.
At Whanganui Prison, more work and awareness of LGBTQI+ issues is needed, including putting an end to misgendering, deadnaming and any other forms of dehumanising and derogatory language in relation to transgender inmates.
Mr Boshier also called for an end to the used of dry cells with neither toilets nor drinking water.
He says inspectors did report some positive developments, including a reduction in double-bunking at Whanganui Prison and improved interaction between prisoners and staff at Christchurch Men’s Prison.
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