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

 

Prisoner Advocates To Mourn Rising Prison Suicide

Prisoner Advocates To Mourn Rising Prison Suicide

Prisoner advocacy organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa will be holding candlelight vigils on Thursday 8th March in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to memorialise suicide deaths in prisons. The vigils come in the wake of 18 year-old Kaine Morell’s recent death in Christchurch prison.

“Kaine’s death could have been avoided if he had been provided with the mental health care he needed,” says PAPA spokeswoman Emilie Rākete. “The Department of Corrections did not do that, and his death was the devastating result of that negligence.”

Speaking with Kaine’s family about the time shortly before his death, Rākete says his death was symptomatic of the miserable conditions in prisons, and the prison system’s rising suicide crisis.

“The prison was aware that Kaine had a history of attempted suicide. Kaine reported his mental anguish to prison staff. This was a young man who wanted to live,” says Rākete. “Rather than giving him access to a therapeutic environment, he was placed in a so-called ‘At-Risk Unit’. He was found dying by prison officers shortly after he was returned to his cell.”

At-Risk Units are sections of the prison reserved for prisoners considered to be a risk of suicide or self-harm. United Nations observer Sharon Shalev found that conditions in these units amounted to solitary confinement and were indistinguishable from punishment cells.

According to prison researcher Ti Lamusse’s recent report Solitary Confinement in New Zealand Prisons, the use of solitary confinement actually exacerbates suicidal feelings among prisoners. The report also found that the suicide rate in prisons is significantly higher than in the general population.

“Kaine was punished for feeling suicidal. He needed help. Instead, he was abandoned in solitary confinement, where his dark thoughts were allowed to overwhelm him. Suicide is a tragedy, but it can be prevented,” says Rākete. “Abolishing solitary confinement and giving prisoners access to real mental health treatment is the first step towards ending prison suicides.”

“This young man died alone, in a prison cell, uncared for, when he didn’t need to. That is something we have to fix.”

Speakers at the vigils will include prison abolitionist and legal scholar Moana Jackson, University of Otago mental health professional Dr. Keri Lawson-Te Aho, and Ministers of Parliament representing the Green Party.

The vigil in Auckland will be held at 8:30pm, at 360 Queen Street. The vigil in Christchurch will be held at 8:30pm, in Cathedral Square. The vigil in Wellington will be held at 8:30pm, on the Wellington waterfront. The vigil in Dunedin will be held at 8pm, in the Octagon.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Using PPPs To Meet Auckland’s Roading Needs

More than once, the coalition government has ruled out using public private partnerships (PPPs) to fund the country’s infrastructure needs in health and education – apparently private profiteering in those areas is recognised as being undesirable. Not the same story though with transport, and the reasons for that differential treatment are mystifying. Earlier today, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced that one of two new roads that the government would be co-financing would be a PPP – namely, the Penlink project that will link the northern motorway to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

More>>

 
 

HiveMind: Fair Enough? How Should New Zealanders Be Taxed?

Have Your Say - Scoop and PEP invite you to share your issues, ideas and perspectives on the NZ tax system with other New Zealanders using Scoop’s HiveMind tool. This Tax HiveMind is intended to complement and feed into the review being run by the Government-appointed Tax Working Group (TWG), which is looking at the fairness, balance and structure of the tax system with a 10-year time horizon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Thompson + Clark & Russia’s World Cup

Daily, the coalition government keeps running into examples of the toxic legacy left behind by National – and just as regularly, even the simple fixes are proving stubbornly difficult to enact. Take the case of the security firm Thompson + Clark ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The GCSB’s Security Hang-Up With Russia

So our GCSB has chimed in, alongside its British, Australian and US allies, with warnings about a “fresh wave” of Russian cyber attacks, although the warning has been curiously framed. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Europe Trip: CHOGM & Bilateral Meetings

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in Europe for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and meetings with counterparts in Paris and Berlin. More>>

ALSO:


Addressing Climate Change: No New Offshore Exploration Permits

The Coalition Government is taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Road Safety Summit: Actions To Improve Identified

The Local Government Road Safety Summit held last week identified actions that will lead to lasting changes to road safety in New Zealand, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages