Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Corrections making major investment in Arohata upgrade

Corrections making major investment in Arohata (Upper Prison) upgrade

To be attributed to Neil Beales, Chief Custodial Officer

Corrections acknowledges the Ombudsman’s independent assessment of Arohata (Upper Prison) under the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

The Ombudsman made 25 recommendations and Corrections has made significant progress in ensuring they are met, including a $10m investment in the facility. This will include:

· An extended unlock regime, providing prisoners with greater time outside of their cells to engage in meaningful constructive activity along with opportunities to participate in education, employment and rehabilitation interventions;

· Additional constructive activities, in addition to yoga, weaving, art, board games, Kapa Haka and sewing which are currently available. The additional activities planned include formalised physical education training, painting, decorating and tiling training facilitated by Weltec, the Mana Wahine programme, vegetable gardens to supply produce to local groups, and the appointment of a social worker, counsellor, interventions coordinator and fitness and wellbeing instructor;

· The addition of two new yards with drinking fountains and prisoner phones;

· Refurbishment of an administrative building as a programmes hub;

· Refurbishment of at the At Risk and Separates cell facilities; and

· Upgrade of the gym facilities.

Corrections is committed to operating a prison network that protects the safety of prisoners, staff and the New Zealand public. The Ombudsman’s report will help in this respect and further improve aspects of the prison.

Some of the challenges faced at Arohata are the direct result of the need for us to rapidly increase prison capacity in response to a 40 percent rise in the women’s prisoner population in the last two years. This is driven by a range of factors outside the control of Corrections.

Double bunking has been raised in the report as an issue of concern. A consultation process with unions and the Ombudsman commenced in September 2017 and we are close to finalising a plan that will ensure a safe and secure facility, with the necessary level of staffing that enables prisoners access to rehabilitation programmes. Initially, we had planned to double bunk 88 of the 112 beds at the facility, however this has been substantially reduced after consultation and we now plan to double bunk 44 beds.

As well as the $10 million investment to upgrade the Arohata (Upper Prison) facility, a new wing is being constructed at the Arohata, (Tawa) site. This will include accommodation for 69 women prisoners and is due to be completed in the middle of next year.

In recognition of the different approach required to support women prisoners to turn their lives around, we launched our Women’s Strategy in August 2017.

The four year strategy sets out a new approach to providing women with the treatment, encouragement, counselling, skills and support they need to shape better futures for themselves, their children and their families.

Our Mental Health Strategy, launched last year, sets out our commitment to investing in and improving the way we work with people affected by mental health disorders.

We take our duty of care seriously and we are fully committed to improving prisoners’ mental health and reducing the incidence of self-harm and suicide in prisons. We are investing $25 million to pilot new mental health services and support those at risk of self-harm. This includes increased mental health support for prisoners and community-based offenders, counselling and social work support for women prisoners, support in transitioning back into communities for prisoners with complex mental health needs and wrap around support for families of offenders receiving mental health services. Over the next four years we are also developing a new ‘whole of prison’ model for care of at-risk prisoners.

We screen all offenders for mental health problems and drug and alcohol issues when they enter prison and have implemented a new approach to managing those most at risk. This includes:

· improving the risk assessment tools used by custodial staff to better identify those prisoners at risk so staff can intervene sooner to reduce the risk of self harm or suicide;

· introducing multi-disciplinary teams who provide specialist care for people both in the At Risk Unit and once they have left; and

· enhancing the physical environment of our At Risk Units.

In addition, we have a number of preventative measures in place to help reduce the rate of suicide and self harm in prison. These include:

· suicide and mental health awareness training for frontline staff and refresher courses every two years;

· active management of at-risk prisoners including observation regimes and observations cells in units designed to minimise opportunities for self harm; and

· referral processes for forensic care.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Fate Of Julian Assange

Has swapping Scott Morrison for Anthony Albanese made any discernible difference to Australia’s relations with the US, China, the Pacific and New Zealand? Not so far. For example: Albanese has asked for more time to “consider” his response to New Zealand’s long running complaints about the so called “501” deportations back to this country. Really? He needs more time to figure out a response? OK, but the clock is ticking.
The Julian Assange situation is a lot more urgent. Assange’s deportation to the United States has now been okayed by the British courts and also - crucially – by its government. At any moment, Assange could be on a plane and headed for a US prison. He is facing the prospect of 175 years in jail...


Parliament: Grounds Fully Reopened

Parliament’s grounds have been fully reopened today at a ceremony and community event with mana whenua, members of the public, and representatives of Parliament... More>>

Chris Hipkins: Statement On Charlotte Bellis

On 31 January I released a statement regarding Charlotte Bellis and her MIQ application. I stated that emergency allocation criteria includes a requirement to travel to New Zealand within the next 14 days... More>>

Government: Prime Minister To Travel To Europe And Australia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will leave this weekend to travel to Europe and Australia for a range of trade, tourism and foreign policy events... More>>


National: Goodfellow To Retire As Party President
Peter Goodfellow today announced he will not seek re-election as President of the National Party at its Annual Conference. Mr Goodfellow will remain as a director on the board for one final term to assist in the transition... More>>

Police: Parliament Occupation Investigators Seek Public Assistance
Police investigating criminal activity on the final day of the occupation at Parliament grounds earlier this year are appealing for the public’s help to identify 15 people... More>>

World Vision: New Zealand Urged To Meet Quota As New Report Finds Hunger, Violence, And Death Rates Increase For Refugees
World Vision is calling for New Zealand to work harder to meet its refugee quota in the wake of a new report which shows that life has deteriorated significantly in the past two years for refugees in 11 hard-hit countries... More>>




InfoPages News Channels