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O’Connor’s assurances needed

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

1 January 2006

O’Connor’s assurances needed

National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power, says Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor should tell the public the extent of security issues at New Zealand’s prisons in light of the report into Christchurch Men’s Prison.

He is commenting on further details contained in the Corrections report into the escape of a prisoner in August, which said:
· The prisoner’s escape was unplanned.
· There was a failure of a number of factors associated with physical security at the prison.
· There was a failure to adequately identify, analyse and respond to all security weaknesses and maintenance requirements.
· The absence of national standards and guidelines governing some aspects of maintenance resulted in physical deficiencies that enabled the escape.

“However, the report also indicates there are similar problems at other prisons,” says Mr Power.

The report’s summary recommends that the ‘National Office will inform other prisons of the outcome of this investigation and the areas that require improvement’, and ‘The findings from the report will result in improvement of physical security systems within the Department … and assist … in protecting the public by managing prisoners in a safe and secure manner.’

“This suggests to me that there are similar security flaws at other prisons.

“Together, these amount to a very worrying situation with regards to the security of Christchurch Men’s Prison and to New Zealand prisons overall.

“The good news is that at least they have identified them. What we need now is an assurance from this Minister that they are being fixed as a matter of the utmost urgency,” says Mr Power.

Ends

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