Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Jailhouse mental health crisis urgent

3 December 2008

Jailhouse mental health crisis needs urgent attention: Greens

National's plans to increase the prison muster will compound existing mental health issues in prisons - highlighted in Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem's annual report - and create a hazardous environment for prisoners, corrections staff and the wider community, says the Green Party.

Green Party Law and Order Spokesperson Metiria Turei says it is blindingly obvious that Corrections Minister Judith Collins' policy will increase violence in prisons, do nothing to prevent reoffending, and put the wider community at risk.

Mrs Turei is also dismayed at the Government's plans to house two prisoners per single cell to cope with increased numbers of inmates.

"Double bunking puts mentally ill people and corrections officers at risk of harm. If the Minister implements this controversial proposal she could be held responsible for increased violence against public servants already under extreme pressure. And disturbed prisoners also present a danger to themselves, and other inmates."

Mrs Turei says the Chief Ombudsman's warning that large numbers of prisoners with untreated mental illnesses pose significant safety issues, and the situation will worsen as inmate numbers increase, should be heeded.

"Mental illness and lack of medical care contributes to crime. If proper care was available it would be highly likely that the crime rate would decrease. More research is needed, but immediate and urgent measures are required now to deal with this obvious problem."

It is contrary to justice to imprison obviously ill New Zealanders because of failed health support, Mrs Turei says.

"Surely one of the fundamental objectives of prison is to prevent further offending after release, and to ensure that prisoners become able to participate fully and positively in society. This is an objective for all prisoners, not just for some small quota of them. Full and effective mental health services and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment needs to be available for every prisoner who needs them, not just for a quota.

"To do otherwise perpetuates further offending, is inhumane, and breaches New Zealand's international obligations."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need.

Spot the difference with New Zealand, where DHBs are under intense pressure to reduce deficits within a climate of chronic underfunding. More>>


Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election