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 Gaza And Burning The Israeli Flag

One of the selling points in New Zealand’s campaign for a temporary seat on the Security Council is that we have a pluckily independent voice to offer on international conflicts.

This image is not entirely self-delusional. When we did occupy a temporary UN Security Council seat in the 1990s, New Zealand was forthright about the need for the international community to actively respond to the Rwanda genocide. On April 14, 1994, New Zealand, Nigeria and the Czech Republic were the only nations to call for a forceful UN intervention to halt the killings. It was a proud moment in the diplomatic record of the Bolger government.

What then, is the current National government doing with respect to the slaughter in Gaza? More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

EPA: Board Of Inquiry Rejects Basin Flyover By Majority Of 3 To 1

The independent Board of Inquiry delegated to decide on the Basin Bridge Proposal has, by a majority decision (3 to 1), cancelled the Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its resource consent applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of a flyover on State Highway 1 in Wellington City... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Non-Apology To Tania Billingsley

The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses... Yesterday though, Key’s choice of words indicated that an apology was the last thing on his mind. More>>

ALSO:

Conventions: Winston Peters On The Nation

Winston Peters opens door to standing in East Coast Bays electorate, says it's an "exciting point" and he's thinking about it. "I’ve had a whole lot of people writing to me and calling up and saying ‘why don’t you have a go in East Coast Bays’." More>>

ALSO:

Waitangi Tribunal: Report On The MV Rena

In its interim report, the Waitangi Tribunal has found that the Crown’s conduct in response to the grounding of the MV Rena on Otaiti (Astrolabe) reef breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. More>>

ALSO:

Gaza: Wellington Protest For Palestine Calls For End To Bombing

Around 300 people gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Wellington on Friday to protest Israel’s occupation of Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Failure To Prosecute The GCSB

So one hand of the state – the Independent Police Conduct Authority – has now washed the hands of its brother agencies, and declared that all hands are clean. Case closed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news