Solitary confinement brought to Auckland streets
Prisoner rights group to bring solitary confinement to Auckland streets
Prisoner advocacy group People Against Prisons Aotearoa will be installing a mock prison cell outside Auckland’s Aotea Square this Tuesday 28th November. The cell is going up to demonstrate the conditions of solitary confinement in New Zealand’s prisons, in protest of the ongoing practice.
“In our work with prisoners, our advocates have seen first-hand the destructive effects of long-term solitary confinement. This disturbing practice must be ended immediately,” says PAPA spokesperson Emilie Rākete.
The group uses the United Nations’ definition of solitary confinement, which describes it as the forced isolation of prisoners from meaningful human contact for twenty to twenty four hours a day. According to PAPA’s analysis of data released under the Official Information Act, a New Zealand prisoner is put in solitary confinement approximately every 43 minutes.
“Solitary confinement is degrading and dehumanising. Being around other people is a basic human need,” says Rākete. “Being deprived of it can cause permanent physical and psychological harm.”
“Through its current isolation policies, the Department of Corrections is permanently damaging people. These policies actively contribute to New Zealand’s very high rates of reoffending.”
“The horror of solitary confinement is usually hidden in the prison basement, where no one can see it,” says Rākete. “We want to bring it out onto the street for all to see.”