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Ngawha Prison staffing cause for concern

Ngawha Prison staffing cause for concern

National’s Law and Order spokesman, Simon Power, says it is indicative of the mess that the prisons system is in when 84 of the 126 staff at the state-of-the-art Ngawha Prison in Northland have less than one year’s experience working in Corrections.

He is commenting on figures released to him by Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor in answers to a written question.

“These figures are very worrying because prisons such as Ngawha need to have experienced officers on hand.

“This is another example of how this Government has ignored all the warning signs and not planned properly for the projected increase in prison numbers.

“They have been told for years that there was a looming staffing problem – the prison officers themselves have been saying this – but Labour chose to do little about it. They are now reaping the consequences of that lack of action.

“Ngawha Prison was many years in the making, so this Government had plenty time to get it right. They built the prison but forgot about making sure they had experienced staff to put in there.

“It’s no wonder prisoners are able to wander around at night making themselves cups of coffee in the staff room.

“We have three new prisons on the way but what guarantees have we got that the inmates will be guarded by experienced staff? This Minister must give the public assurances that his department is well advanced with plans to blood new staff well before those prisons come on line.

“If they ignore these warnings there will be a disaster,” says Mr Power.

Ends

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