To be attributed to Neil Beales, Chief Custodial Officer.
Corrections acknowledges the release of the follow up report on Christchurch Women’s Prison, made by the Ombudsman under the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
There were seven recommendations resulting from the report. We note that the Ombudsman is generally satisfied with the management and environment of the prison.
We are committed to operating a prison network that protects the safety of prisoners, staff and the New Zealand public.
Corrections acknowledges that the challenges faced by women in prison are different to those of their male counterparts. As a result we launched our Women’s Strategy PDF, 1585.24 KB in August 2017 to address the unique needs of women prisoners.
This four year strategy will provide women with the treatment, encouragement, counselling, skills and support they need to shape better futures for themselves, their children and their families.
Some of the challenges faced at Christchurch Women’s Prison are the direct result of the need to rapidly increase prison capacity in response to a 40 percent rise in the women’s prisoner population in two years. This increase has been driven by a range of factors outside the control of Corrections, including legislative changes, judicial decisions, policing trends and crime levels.
Prisoner transfers and double bunking are two of the outcomes from the increase in prison numbers. Double bunking in the prison will be managed in a way that minimises the impact on the women. Our aim is to maintain a safe and secure facility, with the necessary level of staffing that enables prisoners to access rehabilitation programmes.
Corrections will also work hard to ensure prisoners can maintain contact with their families should they be transferred out of the region due to rising muster numbers.
Read the full follow-up report into investigation of Christchurch Women's Prison under OPCAT on the Ombudsman's website.