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ACRP Continues To Challenge Prison Boundaries

10 December 2003

ACRP continues to challenge prison management boundaries

The privately managed Auckland Central Remand Prison has set a new standard for inmate health care with today's presentation of Quality Health New Zealand accreditation.

ACRP is likely to be the only prison to achieve this standard in the immediate future. Government legislation to be introduced next year will require all health service providers to achieve a lower level of health certification, but all prisons will be exempt.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony at the prison, General Manager Dom Karauria, said ACRP had shown the public what was possible if prisons pushed the boundaries and refused to accept minimum standards as 'good enough'.

"If we accept lower standards of health care for prison inmates then we are effectively consigning them to the scrapheap and playing lipservice to rehabilitation," he said.

"Many inmates entering ACRP are in very poor health and need extensive medical attention. Many have not seen a doctor for some significant time," he said.

"We believe that if we are ever to rehabilitate inmates then we must start at the very beginning, and that involves the very best, professional medical care.

"Many of these people have serious health problems which impact on the community as well as the individual. Unless inmates are treated to the highest standard while in prison, they will take these illnesses, including mental health illnesses, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases, back into the community."

Mr Karauria said ACRP's commitment to delivering the very best health care to all inmates was an extension of the prison's underlying principle of 'Respect For All People, At All Times'.

"With this accreditation ACRP has shown what can be achieved in terms of delivering inmate health care. The challenge now is for the public prison service to follow this lead and begin to push beyond the minimum standards they are required to deliver," he said.

"While prisons in this country continue to settle for 'good enough' we will never make meaningful progress towards transforming our prisons into places of treatment and genuine rehabilitation.

"This is precisely why we have pushed so far beyond what ACRP is contracted to deliver across all areas of prison operations, including the provision of heath care services."

Mr Karauria said while the issue of prison management was increasingly focused on ideology over performance, ACRP would continue to push the boundaries across all areas of prison management for as long as it was able.

"ACRP has shown the community what is possible in our prisons if we have the freedom to think outside the square and, in strong partnership with Tangata Whenua, develop innovative and culturally appropriate approaches.

"Today's Health Accreditation is further evidence of ACRP's commitment to a fresh new way of thinking which we will continue to pursue in all our operations."


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