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Prisoner BBQ shows Corrections out of touch

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

10 March 2008

Prisoner BBQ shows Corrections out of touch

The Corrections Department continues to show it is out of touch with what the vast majority of New Zealanders think should be happening in our prisons, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is commenting after reports that a prisoner is on life support after he was beaten while guards were distracted as they prepared a Saturday afternoon barbecue in the grounds of Ngawha Prison.

“Corrections Minister Phil Goff should explain what is going on here.

“The statement has been made that barbecues are often held in our prisons as a reward and incentive for good behaviour, and that such events are now seen as a right, not a privilege.

“But what did these guys do to deserve a barbecue?

“This is the same prison that in January was about to give prisoners a barbecue as a way of showing ‘goodwill’ to them after 50 incidents, including throwing boiling water on guards, smashing windows and setting fire to cells, but which was canned after the media heard about it. It looks as though they waited for the publicity to die down before trying again.

“It seems that in our prisons you are rewarded whether you behave or misbehave.

“These people are there because they were found to be in serious breach of the law. The victims of their crimes will be grossly offended by the idea that they are being rewarded for anything.

“Phil Goff still hasn’t answered a question I asked him in December: does he agree with Corrections assistant general manager Bryan McMurray who said ‘people don’t go to prison to be punished’.”


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