Statement from NZ First
New Zealand First is concerned about an apparent lack of safety at Rimutaka Prison following an incident in which a prisoner and visitor were trapped in a prison visiting booth for several hours.
Corrections spokesperson Asenati Lole-Taylor says it was obviously the result of a systemic failure that could seriously affect safety and security in our prisons.
“The whole prison site was compromised when Muster count was completed without confirming the whereabouts of the prisoner, and staff also failed to account for the visitor.
“They could have been down at the local tavern for all the prison was aware.
“The Corrections Department must do more staff training including refresher programmes, specifically around Musters and Visitor safety.
“Having robust systems based on endless and overlapping communiqués without on-going core function training is worthless.”
Mrs Lole-Taylor says the case where the woman and her partner were trapped shows that a system that tries to make prison guards into social workers simply does not work.
“The Minister needs to spell out a clear policy that clearly defines safety, security and rehabilitative roles.
“The prison service has armies of well-intentioned people who are falling over each other without any clear focus of what they are supposed to be doing.”