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Corrections Minister somehow survives 2006

Corrections Minister somehow survives 2006

The Corrections Department’s ‘annus horribilis’ is finishing as it started – in a mire of bumbling, incompetence and tragedy, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

"The Liam Ashley tragedy has completed what has been a disastrous year for Corrections, and somehow Minister Damien O’Connor keeps his job.

"Have a look at how the year went in Corrections.

"It started on January 1 with a report on serious security lapses at one prison, followed by a security report on another that said the public had been put in ‘considerable danger’, figures showing more drugs, knives, air guns and knuckle dusters than ever inside prisons, a report that one in six prisoners use drugs, a Corrections proposal to hire convicted criminals as guards, a report showing each bed at the new Otago prison will cost $650,000, and figures showing $5 million in lawsuits by prisoners against Corrections.

"And that was just January! It all went downhill from there, if that were possible, including:

$490 million prisons construction budget blowout, construction manager paid $1,852

a day.

Under-floor heating, $11 million of landscaping, LCD TVs, design faults in the

new prisons.

Record number of investigations into breaches of law and policy by staff, and staff employment and mediation issues.

Staff vote of no-confidence in prison management.

$43 million spent on consultants.

A rehabilitation scheme that actually increased re-offending.

More money needed to fix squalid conditions at Mt Eden.

Prisoners paid $134,000 after being mistakenly held for too long.

Movie playlist that includes violence, drug abuse and jail breaks.

X-Boxes and Playstations with violent games

Escapes from Rolleston, Christchurch Men’s and Rimutaka.

Assaults on guards and a Parole Board member.

$2 million paid to staff in ‘performance payments’.

Unauthorised weekend visits to the beach.

"And then there was the Liam Ashley tragedy.

"CEO Barry Matthews described the year as an ‘annus horribilis’ only to be contradicted by Damien O’Connor who said he thought Corrections had done a good job. I think the public will be the judge of that.

"In a year of surprises, the biggest one is that Damien O’Connor and Barry Matthews are still holding on to their jobs."


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