Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Christmas in Prison - A Quiet One

A Quiet Christmas

Christmas for prisoners in New Zealand will be a quiet, simple affair says, the Department of Corrections.

“Christmas is an understated, straightforward day with a Christmas meal and the chance for some prisoners to play sports and attend church services,” says Assistant General Manager Operations Bryan McMurray.

“Christmas can be a very stressful and tough time for many prisoners and our staff are trained to ensure that they can recognise and respond to anyone not coping.”

The Director of the Chaplaincy Service, David Major, says while Corrections Officers must keep order, both Corrections Officers and prison chaplains try to make the day as normal and pleasant as possible. He says this is not “getting soft on crime” - rather it is about the importance of normalising the occasion.

“Prisoners return to the outside world eventually, so in the end as normal a Christmas Day as possible is in the interests of the prisoners’ children, parents and the whole community,” he says.

“On Christmas morning thousands of children wake up knowing mum or dad is in prison and thousands of parents wake up knowing their son or daughter is in prison.”

“Working alongside Corrections Officers, the chaplains also make themselves available to any prisoners who want to talk,” Mr Major says. “The Department not only has the obligation of managing prisoner safety and security but we must also do so humanely. Recognising Christmas in a small way is one way we can do this.

“Prisoners may receive approved gifts from friends and family, however all items are subject to normal security processes to prevent contraband entering the prison,” says Mr McMurray.

Many prisoners have children and loved ones on the outside whom they wish to give presents to says, Mr McMurray.

“A lot of prisoners spend their recreation time, and use skills from art programmes, to make gifts for their families that they can send home for Christmas. In some regions, the Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society (PARS) may purchase gifts on prisoners’ behalf for them to send to their friends and family.”

Prisoners’ children may receive presents through the Angel Tree Programme. The programme operates at most New Zealand prisons and is co-ordinated by Prison Fellowship New Zealand, with the support of the Prison Chaplaincy Service and local churches, who organise the purchase and distribution of gifts to prisoners’ children.

“For our staff working on Christmas day it is business as usual, but prisoners may spend their day involved in recreational activities such as touch rugby or basketball. They can also attend multi-denominational church services held by the prison chaplain.

“Participation in these activities depends upon a prisoner’s security classification and behaviour.”

Mr McMurray says it is a common misconception that Christmas in prison is excessive when really its not.

“It is Christmas, but there is no fanfare. It’s a basic and appropriate day for all.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Legal Fudging Of The GCSB Revelations

As many have noted, the Hager/Snowden revelations of the spying by our security agencies on our Pacific neighbours and allies is a virtual re-run of the pre-election debate.

Unfortunately, it is also a forerunner of the kind of “ debate” we can expect during the upcoming review of the security agency powers, in June. It is a situation where the government (a) stonewalls, (b) baldly asserts that mass surveillance is not occurring despite the Snowden evidence that it is, and (c) claims that the GCSB actions were lawful.

Yet as Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman says, this can be true only if the legislation passed last year by the Key government has made the mass surveillance of New Zealanders – and the related handing over of their private data to the NSA – lawful. More>>

Latest:

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Women's Day, March 8: It’s Time For Men To Step Up For Gender Equality

UN Women is launching the HeForShe campaign in New Zealand at the International Women's Day Parliamentary Breakfast, and is calling on New Zealand men — including politicians and community and sports leaders — to show their commitment to gender equality by signing up to this global campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Teina Pora Wins Appeal: Gordon Campbell On The Privy Council Decision

The quashing of the convictions of Teina Pora for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1992 has shone a spotlight once again on a major gap in the New Zealand justice system... More>>

ALSO:

Urgent Bill Planned: MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news