Follow-up inspection report released for Waikeria Prison

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

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

“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 August 2019, found that Waikeria Prison had made good progress in providing a range of work, education and rehabilitation opportunities for all prisoners, including those on remand.

The prison continues to face challenges due to the use of facilities more than 100 years old. The high security units continue to be an environment not conducive for the humane treatment of prisoners.

The inspection noted positive staff engagement with prisoners. Staff reflected that they used the Department of Corrections’ values from the Hōkai Rangi strategy in their day to day interactions with prisoners.

The inspection was unannounced and followed an inspection which took place in 2017. It is part of a new phase of follow-up inspections of all 18 New Zealand prisons by the Office of the Inspectorate.

The inspection utilised 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 Waikeria Prison follow-up unannounced inspection report [pdf].

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