Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand
Similar human rights issues plague prisons with latest Inspectorate report
The Office of the Inspectorate has released its latest inspection report for Arohata Women’s Prison. While the report shows some areas are better than other prisons, it depicts serious issues around mental health, access to facilities and bullying and assault that must be immediately addressed.
Amnesty International Campaigns Director Lisa Woods says the issues the Arohata prison report finds, such as; adequate access to mental health services and facilities, allegations of bullying and assaults not being dealt with properly, only add to the long list of serious issues seen in prisons across the country.
“This is another example that confirms serious problems at yet another prison, once again, this is not an isolated incident. What we’re seeing is a pattern of serious human rights concerns across places of detention in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are also concerned that even when alternative facilities are available, they aren’t being utilised enough, such as the mother and baby units. Adequate access to basic healthcare was again a problem, an issue that has come up in other prisons. And, the fact that the Inspectorate had to intervene when staff did not respond appropriately to a serious prisoner on prisoner assault whilst they were there is of grave concern. What else is happening when watchdogs are not there?”
Woods’ comment follows an announcement from the Minister earlier this year of a review of various parts of the Corrections system following the Mihi Bassett case.
She says the Arohata prison report reiterates the need for an urgent, independent inquiry into the entire prison system.
“It is better for everyone if prisons are a place of rehabilitation. However, reports continue to stack up highlighting inadequate processes and facilities that are causing further harm to people in prison.’
“The Minister has promised reviews into various parts of the Corrections system, while this is welcome, this latest report highlights the need for a systems-wide review through an independent inquiry into all prisons so that we can see exactly what we’re working with here. We are still awaiting the Minister’s next moves on the reviews he announced earlier this year, we hope he takes on board the urgency of this matter. All people deserve to live with dignity and care, and this is clearly not the case across the prison system.”