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Excellence in prison management needed

Excellence in prison management needed more than ever

"The ongoing fiasco over the Paparua Prison 'Goon Squad' highlights the absurdity of Government plans to take away the private management contract from New Zealand's best prison," Pita Turei said today.

Pita Turei is Deputy Chair of Iwi Whanui O Tamaki Makaurau, a Board representing six Northern iwi in a formal relationship with Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) - New Zealand's only privately managed prison.

"The ongoing issue surrounding the Goon Squad continues to highlight serious issues within the Public Prison Service and the Department of Corrections.

"Yet at precisely the same time as blocking this inquiry, the Government is pushing ahead on a blind ideological campaign which will see the management contract of the best prison New Zealand has ever seen handed back to the Public Prison Service."

Mr Turei said ACRP was recognised as the safest, most successful and best-managed prison in the country that was continuing to set unprecedented standards of operational excellence.

"What the entire Goon Squad issue has shown us is that the Department of Corrections needs to be constantly challenged to lift its game and improve its performance. There should have been an inquiry into what has happened at Paparua Prison."

Mr Turei said the private management contract at ACRP has shown the Department, and the people of New Zealand, what is possible in our prisons through an innovative new approach.

"ACRP has provided the challenge that Corrections so desperately needs," he said.

"The people that my Board represent are upset that, despite the progress that ACRP has made in terms of inmate management and rehabilitation, the Government remains hell-bent on turning its back on what is being achieved here."

Mr Turei said that rather than penalising agencies that were actively reforming New Zealand's prisons, the Government would be much better focused sorting out problems within its own Department.

"The agency that can best manage a prison must be allowed to do so if we are ever to stop settling for second best in our prisons," he said.

"The last thing this country needs is for the Public Prison Service, with all its problems, to be handed an exclusive monopoly to manage all of our prisons, regardless of who can do the best job."

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