Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Prisoners with no toilets at Auckland Prison


22 February 2019

The Howard League for Penal Reform has been alerted by a prisoner to a situation at Auckland Prison where prisoners, who are locked in the day room, have no access to toilet facilities. A prisoner from Auckland Prison has written to the Howard League expressing his concern over these conditions. He writes:

"I have seen prisoners urinate in bottles, containers and the sink where prisoners wash their eating containers. This is inhumane treatment and poor prison management ... breaching so many laws ... [it] needs urgent attention."

"This is utterly unacceptable and must be rectified immediately" said Christine McCarthy, spokesperson for the Howard League. "It is inhumane and degrading to house prisoners without proper access to toilets. Prisoners urinating in the sink used for washing food containers is clearly unhygenic. And on top of this there are obvious issues of a lack of privacy, and dignity for prisoners. There is no excuse for this. It's bleedingly obvious that people in prison need access to a toilet."

It appears that the situation may have been caused by insufficient staffing at the prison. The information that the Howard League has received indicates that the issue has arisen because there are rarely Corrections officers in the day room available to take prisoners to the toilet.

This revelation comes only days after the Ombudsman released his report into Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF) which stated that ASCF "had been running exceptional periods of extended lock[down] ... primarily due to staff absences and gaps on the roster" (p. 45). The Ombudsman stated that he is "concerned that prisoners ... did not have sufficient time out of their cells to promote mental wellbeing" (p. 45).

The situation at Auckland Prison suggests that the negative impact of insufficient staffing levels at prisons is not limited to ASCF. This appears to be another instance where New Zealand's embarrasingly high incarceration rate, and the overcrowding of prisons is adversely affecting the basic human rights and well-being of prisoners in New Zealand. In the short term prison staffing needs to ensure people in prisons are being treated with respect and humanely; not having their human rights violated. This is an issue for this year's well-being budget. Ultimately though if the problems of prisons are to be addressed all political parties must commit to evidence-based justice policies. As Bill English once put it: prisons are a moral and fiscal failure. Politicans need to face up to this fact.


ADDITIONAL NOTES
New Zealand has one of the highest incarceration rates in the OCED. We imprison 214 people per 100,000 of our population. This contrasts Australia (172), UK (England and Wales (139), Canada (114), Switzerland (81), the Netherlands (61), Iceland (37). These incarceration rates were obtained from the World Prison Brief website http://prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison_population_rate?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All
The Corrections Act requires that prisons are administered in a humane manner (s5(1)).
The United Nations Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners states that "All prisoners shall be treated with respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings" (Principle 1).
The criteria that the Ombudman uses when monitoring NZ prisons include that prisons provide "a clean and decent environment ... [where] Each prisoner has ... good access to toilets and washing facilities," and that prisoners have a "right to privacy." (These criteria are included in the ASCF report on pp. 24, 31).
The Ombudsman report into Auckland South Corrections Facility can be found at: http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/ckeditor_assets/attachments/721/Final_OPCAT_Prison_Report_-_ASCF_-_PDF_online_.pdf

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Clark Exit, Convention Centres, And The Killing Of Hachalu Hundessa


Goodbye, David Clark. In the end, the outgoing Health Minister decided that in the midst of a pandemic the best thing he could do for New Zealand would be to no longer be there – given that being there had involved hiving off on his mountain bike during a lockdown, and throwing the country’s most beloved Health bureaucrat under a bus. As Clark indicated so memorably at last week’s press conference, when it comes to managing public health risks at the border the buck stops with…that guy over there! In the aftermath of that debacle, Clark reached the same conclusion the nation had reached some time ago, that leadership just wasn’t his thing. Once again, he got on his bike.... More>>
 

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>

ALSO:


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>

ALSO:

Gun Law: A New Firearms System Focused On Safety

Tougher gun laws will begin to take effect from next week following the passage of new firearms legislation through Parliament today. The Minister of Police says the Third Reading of the Arms Legislation Bill is an historic milestone for community ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Building A Stronger Health And Disability System

The Government is committing to a long-term programme of reform to build a stronger New Zealand Health and Disability System that delivers for all. More>>

ALSO:

National: Todd Muller Announces Caucus Reshuffle

Today I am confirming a minor shadow cabinet reshuffle due to the retirement of Paula Bennett. Dr Shane Reti will be ranked number 13 and will take on Associate Drug Reform. Shane has demonstrated a huge intellect and capacity for work, supporting ... More>>

Biosecurity: Winston Peters On EU Travel: 'We're Not Going To Compromise Our Country's Health'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealanders who head to Europe on holiday should pay for their two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return. More>>

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>

ALSO:


Int'l Trade: New Zealand To Host Virtual APEC In 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels