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

 


Bring in Independent Prison Monitoring Boards

Arthur Taylor may be tip of iceberg – bring in Independent Prison Monitoring Boards

The regularity with which prisoner Arthur Taylor’s complaints have been found to have been justified, has led Rethinking Crime and Punishment to call for the establishment of Independent Prison Monitoring Boards to be established at each prison. Spokesperson Kim Workman said there is growing concern that Prison Managers are not abiding with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which bring together international consensus about what is considered good principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners and the management of institutions.

“The growing view is that the treatment of Arthur Taylor is the tip of the iceberg. We consider there is an increased role for civil society in prisons, and that the establishment of Independent Monitoring Boards at each prison can mitigate the ‘power and control’ culture, which leads to an increase in lockdown hours, and the poor treatment of prisoners.”

“The value of volunteers or external independent observers is widely recognised and has led to the establishment of Visitor Panels [VPs] or Independent Monitoring Boards [IMBs] in most Commonwealth countries. Independent Monitoring Boards (IBM’s) are made up of ordinary members of the public who volunteer 2-3 days per month, to monitor daily life in a local prison. They have unrestricted 24/7 access, and ensure that proper standards of care are maintained. They can talk to any prisoner they wish, if necessary out of hearing of prison officers. They play an important role in dealing with problems inside the prison. If a prisoner or detainee has an issue that he or she has been unable to resolve through the usual internal channels, he or she can put in a confidential request to see a member of the IMB. Problems might include concerns over lost property, visits from family or friends, special religious or cultural requirements, or even serious allegations such as bullying.

“When Baroness Vivien Stern visited New Zealand in 2012, she told Parliamentarians that IMBs have done more than any prison management regime or Government plan to improve the quality of life for prisoners and the working environment for staff,” said Mr Workman. “The principal value of independent volunteers is that they bring the general values of the community into prison and represent the community in whose name punishment is meted out. They are the indicators for societal normality and a reference point for those removed from society for a long time.”

“Research shows that where there is a concentration of volunteers moving in and out of a prison, there is an absence of violence and corruption. Volunteers serve to stabilize the prison environment – prisoners welcome visitors as “people who care”, and their response to volunteers is generally courteous and positive. The negative behaviour associated with the prison culture is put on hold.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Anne Tolley’s
Callous Folly

Years ago, I remember someone in the Heath Ministry telling me off the record that regulatory oversight in this country largely consisted in ‘waiting for something to turn green or fall off somebody’ before the authorities would swing into action...

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

 

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Housing MPs: New Building(s) For Parliament

A new building will be erected on Parliament grounds to house Members of Parliament and their staff who currently work in leased accommodation in Bowen House. The plan has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First, said Parliament’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news