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Ohura prison relocating to Tongariro/Rangipo

18 February 2005

Ohura prison relocating to Tongariro/Rangipo

Ohura Prison in the central North Island is to be relocated to Tongariro/Rangipo Prison near Turangi, Corrections Minister Paul Swain announced at Ohura this morning.

The relocation of Ohura Prison, which has 97 beds, will result in a net gain of 23 beds to the country's prison capacity. All existing prison staff will be invited to transfer to Tongariro/Rangipo Prison.

"The relocation allows the Corrections Department to make the best use of its resources."

Ohura Prison is isolated, which makes it hard to recruit and retain staff and maintain the delivery of rehabilitation and reintegration services to the site. The prison has operated with five staff short for the past year. The prison site is also vulnerable to road closures and flooding.

In addition, since the Department could not guarantee that the prison would continue to operate from Ohura in the long term, the Ruapehu District Council has decided not to continue the local reticulated water supply scheme. The prison's wastewater treatment plant will also need to be upgraded in the near future. Dealing with both these issues would cost several million dollars.

"It has become increasingly clear that it is not feasible to continue operating a prison at Ohura. I have looked at this issue very closely and this decision was not taken lightly. I am confident it is the right decision."

Sixty prison huts will be moved from the Ohura site to Tongariro/Rangipo as part of the relocation and will add to the 60 cells that are to be constructed there.

The remaining huts and facilities at Ohura will be recycled and moved to other prison sites at a later date. All prisoners will be moved from Ohura to Tongariro/Rangipo by the end of the year.

ENDS

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