Prisoner abuse allegations show urgent need for Greens’ Independent Prison Inspectorate

Corrections’ ongoing accountability failures make it clear that an Independent Prisons Inspectorate is more necessary than ever, the Green Party said today.

A RNZ report today revealed that Corrections has refused to share details about the treatment of a prisoner who was tied to his bed as far back as February. His treatment has sparked an investigation by the Ombudsman’s torture team, but Corrections’ own report into the situation is MIA.

“Corrections has shown that it cannot be relied upon for accountability or transparency to ensure basic human rights in prison. Its default position towards the Ombudsman is contempt,” said Green Party corrections spokesperson David Clendon.

“Prisoner numbers are at a record high under this Government, putting the safety and well-being of inmates and staff under even greater pressure. Having closed prisons and laid off staff, there now aren’t enough staff to ensure our prisons are being run safely.

“I have a member’s bill in the ballot to establish an Independent Prisons Inspectorate. The Prisons Inspectorate would ensure that reports of abuse, ill treatment, and fight clubs would come to light much earlier, and hold those responsible to account.

“Reports of prisoners being tied down to their beds for potentially extended periods of time, and cancer patients being denied basic care in prisons, undermines New Zealand’s commitment to UN torture laws and risks our international reputation.

“I encourage Minister Collins to pick up my Bill, which establishes an Independent Prisons Inspectorate; it is all ready to go,” said Mr Clendon.

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