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


Prisons Monty Python style

2000 web site

The case of the Wanganui burglar who used the local prison as his base may sound like a Monty Python skit, but it highlights serious deficiencies in New Zealand's prison service, Labour justice spokesperson Phil Goff said today.

"According to police, David Downer regularly let himself out of Wanganui prison to commit burglaries, before going back to his cell and the perfect alibi.

"When he was caught, the police told prison authorities that Downer should be transferred to a medium security prison. But somehow he ended up back at Wanganui Prison, a minimum security facility.

"The Corrections Minister Clem Simich today told the House that inmates in minimum security prisons are there "on trust." That may explain why five inmates, including David Downer, have escaped from Wanganui Prison in the past fortnight.

"The public expects and deserves better. They want criminals who are sent to jail, to stay there until their sentence is served, not to treat it like a hotel where they can come and go at will and carry on their offending.

"It's clear that at Wanganui Prison, the security regime has broken down altogether. But it is not the only prison with serious failings," Phil Goff said.

"At Auckland Prison at Paremoremo, inmates have been able to smuggle in cellphones. A multiple rapist sentenced to preventive detention was held in a medium security wing and was able to escape through a perimeter fence that had not been upgraded. His absence was not noticed for 12 hours by prison staff.

"A string of embarrassing incidents has brought the Corrections Department into disrepute. The police are sick of cleaning up the inadequacies of the Department. It's time for the Minister to stop making excuses and take action," Mr Goff said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

National Terrorism Threat Level Moves To Medium
Medium is defined as a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur. The new level remains higher than it was before the 15 March terrorist attack when the threat level was low. More>>


Environment Aotearoa 2019: Report Warns Environment In Serious Trouble

The report is jointly produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, and is a follow on from the last report in 2015.

The report says the way New Zealanders live and make a living is having a serious impact on the environment, and the benefits New Zealanders get from being in nature, though not measured or quantified, could be lost. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Scrapping The Capital Gains Tax

As PM Jacinda Arden said yesterday, there was no point in Labour bringing a proposal into the House that it didn’t have the votes to get passed. Looking back, maybe she always felt this outcome to be inevitable... More>>


City Rail Link: Billion Dollar Cost Rise (And Preferred Bidder)

The revised cost envelope for completing the entire Auckland City Rail Link project now totals $4.419 billion. The revised cost has yet to be endorsed by the project’s sponsors (the Crown and Auckland Council). More>>


Meth Scare: Debt Write-Off For HNZ Meth Testing Evictions

People living in Housing New Zealand (HNZ) properties who were wrongly evicted because of flawed methamphetamine contamination policies will have their related debts with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) written off. More>>


RNZ Report: Fears Grow For NZ Nurse Kidnapped In Syria

A New Zealand nurse working for the Red Cross was captured by Islamic State (IS) in Syria more than five years ago, and there are now public pleas for any information that could help bring her home. More>>


Streets Blocked In London: Climate 'Extinction Rebellion' Reaches Aotearoa

Across the world, thousands of people are taking part in a rebellion to avert climate, ecological and human catastrophe. This begins in Aotearoa New Zealand today. More>>





InfoPages News Channels