New Zealand Law Society - Ombudsman reports on unannounced prison inspection

Ombudsman reports on unannounced prison inspection

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Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has published a report on an unannounced inspection of Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison, saying he will make these inspection reports publicly available from now on.

“The Ombudsman is part of a national system of independent monitoring of places of detention, such as prisons, to make sure detainees receive decent, humane and dignified treatment”, Judge Boshier says  

“With funding from Parliament, we’re developing a more extensive monitoring programme, making more in-depth inspections using formalised standards and criteria. The inspection of Hawke’s Bay Prison trialled this new set of standards, which we’ll continue refining over the coming year.”

Judge Boshier says that publishing the inspection reports will support the strengthened inspections and monitoring programme and is part of his Office’s push toward greater transparency.

“As a signatory to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, New Zealand must meet its international obligations for the care and treatment of detained persons."

The report on Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison identifies good practice at the Prison, including its efforts to establish itself as a working prison with close links to employers. However, it finds significant challenges and areas of serious concern in the high-security side of the prison, particularly relating to safety.

Recommendations include that the Prison develop anti-bullying and gang management strategies, both of which are underway. The Department of Corrections’ comments on the findings and recommendations are included in the report.

The next Ombudsman prison inspection report will focus on Spring Hill Prison and is expected to be released within the next month.