Women in prison

There are three women’s prisons in New Zealand.

  • Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility (ARWCF) in Wiri, Manukau City has 286 beds.
  • Arohata Women's Prison in Tawa, north of Wellington has 88 beds.
  • Christchurch Women's Prison, 20 km south of Christchurch has 140 beds.

Women’s prisons generally have the same facilities as men’s prisons but some have mothers with babies units and feeding and bonding facilities.

Mothers with babies units

Some women give birth while serving a sentence of imprisonment while others have young children at the time of sentencing.

Some prisoners with babies and children up to the age of 24 months may be eligible to live in self-care units where they can bond in a safe and supportive environment.

The mothers with babies units aim to:

  • assist the mother to develop and maintain a functional relationship with her child
  • reduce the likelihood of the mother re-offending.

Feeding and bonding facilities

Feeding and bonding facilities are available to remand and high security women prisoners.

Mothers with babies aged less than nine months old who are cared for in the community are permitted daily visits in secure, purpose-built facilities where they can feed and bond with their child.

These facilities replicate a domestic lounge setting with a bathroom, kitchenette and bedroom for the baby. There is also an external courtyard. Mothers are allowed to spend up to 12 hours a day with their babies.