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Report Confirms Systemic Failure In Our Places Of Detention

The below can be attributed to Amnesty International Executive Director Meg de Ronde in relation to the Human Rights Commission report out today.

"This report confirms our worst fears of a systemic failure in our detention system. Since the original seclusion and restraint report in 2017, individual cases have indicated disturbing and dehumanising treatment of people in prison and a culture of punishment over rehabilitation. This report confirms systemic issues that require a paradigm shift. It confirms a deeply disturbing increase in mechanical restraints and use of force, including pepper spray, and the overuse of segregation, particularly on Māori and Pacific peoples. It confirms that these practices are happening across the detention system."

"Minister Hon Kelvin Davis can no longer have confidence that Corrections isn’t breaking the law, and he can no longer say these are isolated incidents. We are concerned that Corrections’ previous response to reports of inhumane treatment in prisons has implicitly pitted prisoners against officers. This should not be about sides, but rather the wellbeing and dignity of all people working or living in our prisons. We recognise that prisons can be a highly stressful work environment. What we don’t accept is Corrections trying to escape responsibility for maintaining a deficient and punitive structure that is putting both people in prison and officers at risk."

"It’s time for full transparency from Corrections; we empower Corrections to hold people accountable when they break the law, but who is holding it accountable? It is why we are calling on the Minister to take both immediate action to end specific dehumanising practices, and to launch an inquiry into the state of our prison system. It is the Minister who has overall responsibility and the power to make positive change."

"We thank the many organisations, academics, journalists and politicians for their care to persist with this issue despite these barriers. Today, on Human Rights Day, we call on the Minister to listen to these calls and take urgent action."

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