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Prison performance questionnaire results – 2017

Prison performance questionnaire results – 2017

In April 2017, we sent our members in prison our annual prison performance questionnaire. The results are summarised below. Like last year, the results are disappointing, and starkly different from those released by the Department of Corrections.

72% of respondents felt safe but 73% had seen a prisoner assault another prisoner. Prisoner on prisoner assaults were reported in every prison. 23% had seen a prison officer assault a prisoner – the most reported cases came from Auckland Womens, Auckland South and Paremoremo. 32% had seen a prisoner assault an officer, with Auckland South having 56% of prisoners witnessing a prisoner assault an officer.

Most prisoners were not double bunked, however nearly the whole of Auckland Women’s and Springhill respondents were. Springhill prisoners noted that the double bunking was causing issues and fights. Most respondents thought that their cell was clean and the temperature was reasonable, however Ngawha and Hawke’s Bay prisoners noted that the temperatures were not adequately controlled. Most prisoners were not bothered by toilet smells but the prisoners who had been were all double bunked. This is an appalling situation, and highlights again why double bunking is not appropriate.

Health and Wellbeing
Only 51% of prisoners thought that the prison provided good access to health services. Auckland Women’s, Waikeria and Paremoremo all had poor access to health services. 78% of prisoners noted poor access to mental health services. This was across all prisons. The majority of prisoners felt that they received enough to eat, except in Springhill where many prisoners noted that the size of the servings had reduced significantly. 51% of prisoners were not happy with the quality of the food in their prison. This applied to all respondents from all prisons except Auckland South who were mainly happy with the quality of the food. Some Auckland Women’s respondents noted that they do not get the correct portion sizes and it was noted from Paremoremo that the food is often stale and sandwiches are made the night before. Also from Paremoremo it was highlighted that special diets were often forgotten and the prisoner would just have to go hungry. Some prisoners noted that if they were diabetic the food provided was often not appropriate and couldn’t be eaten.


Again unlock times were very good at Rangipo, Hawkes Bay, Rolleston and for a few at Paremoremo.
Unlock hours at the other prison were mainly low, with Springhill (average 5.5 hours, Auckland Womens (average 6.75 hours), and Auckland South (average 5 hours) being the worst. This is not good enough. We asked the question – what is the longest you have been locked in your cell without a break? Rangipo had low figures averaging around 12 hours. All other prisons had terrible results for this question, including one respondent having been in his cell for 144 hours straight in 2013. Auckland South was consistently going over the legal limit of 23 hours. Auckland Women’s and Springhill had appalling results with nearly every respondent noting having been at times locked in their cell without a break between 20-23 hours. Results were quite good for how many hours a day do prisoners spend in activities – although this did include work as well as sports, cultural programmes, rehab and visits. The lowest scores came from Auckland South, which supports the many letters we receive from this prison regarding lack of activities and rehab. Paremoremo, Arohata, Christchurch Mens and Waikeria also had low results.


Sadly the results here are again poor. Only 39% of respondents had been able to get on a rehab programme. A good result for employment with 72% of prisoners having accessed employment. 50% of prisoners had accessed education services. Work for release, financial management, Taha Maori and Violence prevention programmes had all been accessed by less than 10% of respondents. There were many courses also noted that prisoners had not been able to access. These included First Aid, MIRP, computers, Cognitive behavioural therapy, Life 101 and 202, ASTOP, Dog training, Polytech, Health and Safety, Bible Studies, AOD, and sex offender programmes. 60% of respondents were not happy with the quality of the programmes they had accessed. When asked if they would like access to a different rehabilitation programme many noted that they still had not been able to access DTU. Other programmes requested included – anything if you are at Whanganui prison, STURP, Man up, Yoga, Te Reo and reintegration. One respondent noted that they had seen their case manager twice in 15 months. It was also noted that it was almost impossible for lifers to get into any kind of programme.

Access to others

63% noted that they did not get enough access to others, and 70% noted they did not get enough access to outside support services. The majority of prisoners were not happy with the length/frequency of visits, and in particular 92% of respondents from Springhill were unhappy with the length of visits. 34% were happy with the rules around visits. 64% of prisoners were not happy with the chairs and space for visits, some noting that the chairs are too uncomfortable for elderly visitors. Of these though Rangipo and Auckland South were mainly happy with the space for visits.


3% rated their prison as exceptional, 24% as above average, 55% as needs improvement and 18% as sub standard. For the second year running the top rated prison was Rangipo. The only negative comments it received were to do with inadequate heating. Rimutaka, Rolleston, Ngawha, Whanganui and Auckland Women’s all had mainly needs improvement. Unfortunately Springhill had mainly negative results with the highest number of sub standard ratings.


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