August 24, 2023
Corrections slammed for Arohata prison purge
A lawyer for inmates challenging their transfer from Arohata Women’s Prison says it’s time to reopen the Wellington-based facility to sentenced prisoners after the High Court found Corrections broke the law when it transferred dozens of inmates.
The court also found by moving the wāhine to prisons in Christchurch and Auckland, Corrections broke New Zealand’s international obligations not to separate mothers from their children.
Staff freed up by the move were shifted to Remutaka prison so it could take inmates from the overstretched Springhill and Wiri men’s prisons.
Barrister Anita Hill says the needs of the women and their whanau were ignored.
“Some of these kids haven’t seen their kids in person for 18 months to two years. Some have elderly parents they have not been able to see in person, and their release planning has been disrupted so some women have not been able to get parole because their programmes have been disrupted or their planning for accommodation has been disrupted,” she says.
There were also 27 women on the wait list for a drug treatment programme which was closed down as part of the move.