October 28, 2021
Shake up for women’s prisons after inmate abuse
A new strategy to improve the treatment of women in prison includes panels allowing inmates to voice complaints and suggest changes.
Wāhine – E rere ana ki te pae hou was sparked by incidents involving three women at the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, and developed with input from wāhine Māori with direct experience with the justice system.
A report released today by the independent Corrections Inspectorate found staff at the prison failed to follow the operations manual and the Corrections Regulations.
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the current prison system is male-focused with a one-size-fits-all approach which ignores the fact many women in prison have had extremely complex pasts and have often been the victims of violence and abuse themselves.
Alongside the new strategy, changes have been made at the Auckland women’s prison include moves to address staffing pressures and the appointment of a permanent prison manager, a $12 million programme of work to establish additional recreation yards and a trauma-informed approach to practice at the prison.
Across the wider women’s prison network there are a number of initiatives including the Mana Wāhine Pathway programme and the introduction of wāhine panels at each site.