ASCF inspection report released

This report is part of the programme of prison inspections carried out by the Office of the Inspectorate. The inspection process provides an ongoing invaluable insight into prisons and provides assurance that shortcomings are identified and addressed in a timely way, and examples of good practice are shared across the prison network.

We conducted our first inspection of Auckland South Corrections Facility in September 2017. This inspection identified a number of areas of concern. During our current inspection we paid particular regard to these issues and were pleased to observe progress has been made.

Overall, the communal areas at Auckland South Corrections Facility were clean and tidy, although prisoners did not have access to toilets when out of their cells. Cells had good levels of natural light, but some were not clean and showers and toilets lacked privacy. We noted some general maintenance issues. Most prisoners we spoke with, however, were satisfied with their accommodation.

Most prisoners reported feeling safe, although some in the House Blocks said they had experienced standovers or bullying and felt the influence of gangs. There were few incentives to encourage pro-social behaviour.

Māori prisoners could access a range of opportunities to connect with and strengthen their culture. A cultural focus unit, Te Whare o te Whaiora, has been established to help embed a Māori world view and cultural practice.

Prisoners spoke positively of the health team. A wide range of health services were available and waiting times were reasonable, although there were long waiting times for some non-urgent health services such as dental treatment.

The mental health needs of prisoners were generally well catered for and supported by nurses, mental health nurses, psychologists and the forensic team. We noted that some prisoners with physical disabilities felt their needs were not being met.

We were concerned about the length of time some prisoners spent on directed segregation, and the little time these prisoners spent out of their cells each day. However, in the mainstream units, prisoners generally had six hours out of their cells each day.

We noted the quality of rub down searches was poor, and the quality and frequency of cell searches varied across the site. There were poor documentation control practices and complaints were not managed consistently across the site. Prisoners continued to experience delays in receiving their property.

Prisoners were satisfied with the meals available at the site.

It was pleasing to note the prison generally offered a good range of exercise opportunities and equipment. There was a variety of work and industry training opportunities, although few prisoners were undertaking Release to Work.

We noted that prisoners faced long waiting lists for some rehabilitative programmes, or needed to move to other prisons to access programmes for high risk sex offenders or Drug Treatment Units.

We were pleased to see that generally the site has made good progress since our initial inspection.

I acknowledge the cooperation of Auckland South Corrections Facility management and staff, both during the inspection and since, and I look forward to working with them as I continue to monitor progress.