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Sixty new beds ease pressure at ChCh Men's Prison

Sixty new beds ease pressure at Christchurch Men’s Prison

Prison population pressures will be eased by a new low-security 60-bed unit at Christchurch Men’s Prison, officially opened by Department of Corrections Chief Executive Barry Matthews today.

The Te Ahuhu Unit is part of a substantial building programme to construct 493 beds at exiting prisons around the country, in response to the forecast increase in prisoner numbers. Two hundred and sixty of these beds have now been completed. Another 60 beds will be available for use at Wanganui Prison by the end of October, and the remaining beds will become available progressively through to June 2006.

Te Ahuhu is fully monitored from a control room within the Unit, says Mr Matthews.

“The Unit’s control room manages security measures as wide-ranging as surveillance of the Unit’s perimeter and all areas that prisoners can access, and as specific as the provision of electricity to an individual cell within Te Ahuhu,” he says.

“Security will be further improved when the fence surrounding the site is upgraded this financial year. Existing measures such as the razor wire on top of the fence will be complemented by security equipment that alerts the central control room when it is disturbed.”

The 350-bed Northland Region Corrections Facility opened in March this year, and is already accommodating over 300 prisoners. The Northland facility is the first of four new corrections facilities that will add more than 1600 beds to the prison system.

ENDS

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