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 Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>

 
 

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>

ALSO:

Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages