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Corrections facility a riot waiting to happen?

Jacinda
ARDERN
Corrections Spokesperson
29 May 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT
Corrections facility a riot waiting to happen?

A report into a riot at Spring Hill prison that has left taxpayers facing a $10 million bill leaves too many questions unanswered, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“Findings into last June’s riot state the obvious – that responsibility for it lay with the prisoners.

“What is not so clear is the role double bunking in a purpose-built single cell facility played in the fracas.

“There is no mention of the fact that 114 beds, from 72 cells, were out of use as a result of the riots.

“Concerns around minimum entitlements also raise questions about staff resourcing, and whether or not an excessive ‘lockdown’ regime, due to insufficient staff, exacerbated the situation.

“Prison officers did their best in what was an extremely volatile situation. However, whether or not increased staffing levels at the prison in the lead up to the riot could have reduced the likelihood of it happening isn’t canvassed in the report summary either.

“Taxpayers have been left with a $10 million rebuild bill. That’s a significant sum.

“Corrections Minister Anne Tolley needs to assure New Zealanders that her policy of double bunking a prison that wasn't designed for that purpose didn’t contribute to this situation in any way.

“We have an excellent group of people in our Corrections service. They deserve to have all of these questions answered.”

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