Follow-up inspection report released for Manawatu Prison

The Office of the Inspectorate today released its inspection report for Manawatu Prison.

The report details an unannounced follow-up inspection, the first in a new phase of inspections of all 18 New Zealand prisons by the Office of the Inspectorate. This follows the first phase of inspections, where all prisons were inspected in a process that began in March 2017.

“The inspection process provides an ongoing invaluable insight into prisons and provides assurance that shortcomings are identified and addressed in a timely way,” says Chief Inspector Janis Adair. “Examples of good practice can be shared across the prison estate.”

“An unannounced inspection provides the inspection team a clear picture of what happens routinely in the prison. It gives assurance that the findings of the previous inspection are being addressed by the site and standards are being maintained constantly.”

The inspection, which took place in May 2019, found that Manawatu Prison had made good progress overall. Inspectors observed innovative practices by managers and staff to improve prisoner and staff safety, and the prison was making progress in supporting Māori prisoners to strengthen their cultural identity.

The prison continued to provide challenges, due to its dated design and the wide range of prisoner categories on site. At the time of inspection, the lack of progress in refurbishing the high security B block and building an audio-visual suite were a concern.

The Inspectorate has added health expertise to its team of inspectors and inspections now have a strong clinical focus. The report found that the prison had made good progress in improving how staff identified and responded to prisoners with physical, mental or intellectual disabilities. It noted a lack of progress in improving prisoner access to health services.

This report was the first to utilise the Inspection Standards, developed by the Office of the Inspectorate, which describe the standards of treatment of prisoners and conditions that prisons are expected to achieve. The Inspection Standards derive from the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (‘the Nelson Mandela Rules’) and include gender-responsive standards for women and transgender prisoners.

The Office of the Inspectorate, while part of the Department of Corrections, is operationally independent to ensure objectivity and integrity.

Read the Manawatu Prison follow-up unannounced inspection report on our website.

Note: For context and completeness, this statement should be viewed alongside Corrections’ response.