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The Howard League Prison Performance Table


The Howard League Prison Performance Table

The Howard League Wellington has released its inaugural prison performance table. The results are compiled from questionnaires sent to our members in prison, the users of the prison service.

The results are strikingly different from the prison performance tables released by the Department of Corrections. For example, in Corrections’ most recent table, all prisons other than Manawatu and Invercargill were rated by Corrections as passing the ‘Internal Procedures’ criteria. The Howard League has found unacceptable results in this area – among other items were the number of assaults recorded by our respondents. These assaults included prisoner on prisoner, prisoner on officer, and officer on prisoner. The Howard League also found a lack of safety, poor health services and limited access to family and professionals.

Some of the prisons we surveyed had almost zero rehabilitation. Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF), run by Serco at Wiri, stood out for its lack of rehabilitation. In other prisons, prisoners in segregation or on remand had little access to activities or rehabilitation. In most facilities, prisoners continued to be subject to extremely long lockdowns, especially during weekends and holiday periods. We also found that ‘Work to release’ was close to non-existent in many prisons. These results stand in contrast to the Corrections’ performance table, which recorded all prisons as having acceptable levels of rehabilitation.

Many respondents noted a poor quality of food on offer. Very few fruits and vegetables, other than apples and potatoes, were included in the diet. In most prisons, food was packed with sugar and fat, leading some respondents to note that prisoners were becoming ill. Compounding this, access to doctors often involves very long waits – months in some cases.

Some positive responses included most respondents saying that they received enough food and that their cells were clean and tidy. Unlock hours were very good at Rangipo and Whanganui prisons, while ASCF received commendation for its mental health supports and the quality of food.

The Howard League intends to produce these tables on an annual basis and thanks all of our respondents for taking the time to complete our questionnaire.

Prison Performance Table

Prisons could be categorised overall as ‘exceptional’, ‘above average’, ‘needs improvement’ or ‘sub-standard’ in the Howard League questionnaire. The table below covers the prisons from which we received the most responses. All five prisons were graded as ‘needs improvement’ by prisoners. This is in contrast to the grades of ‘effective’ and ‘exceeding’ given by the Department of Corrections in the most recent performance table (for the year ended June 2015).

ARWCFLack of safety and witnessing assaults; double bunking; toilet smells;
limited physical and mental health supports; poor quality food; limited
activities; limited rehabilitation options; limited access to family
and professionals; restrictive visiting rules and conditions
ASCFLack of safety and witnessing assaults; double bunking; toilet smells;
limited activities; lack of access to rehabilitation; limited
access to family; restrictive visiting rules and conditions
RimutakaLack of safety; toilet smells; limited health supports; poor quality food;
long lock-ups; poor quality rehabilitation programmes; limited access
to family and professionals; restrictive visiting rules and conditions
Spring HillWitnessing assaults; double bunking; toilet smells; poor quality food;
long lock-ups; limited access to family and professionals;
restrictive visiting rules and conditions
WhanganuiPoor quality rehabilitation programmes; poor quality food;
limited health supports


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