Christchurch Women's Prison inspection report 2020

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.

I am pleased to note the wāhine at Christchurch Women’s Prison told us they felt safe from violence and bullying. They had time out of their cells each day and access to exercise in the fresh air. All wāhine had their own cell or bedroom.

There were limited opportunities for wāhine Māori to connect with their culture and customs, but we acknowledge the steps being taken by the site to improve this.

It was pleasing to note that health staff demonstrated professionalism and compassion and were proactive with screening and vaccinating. Wāhine were well supported with mental health services and trauma counselling. Despite improvements, however, the Intervention and Support and Separates units do not provide a therapeutic environment for at risk wāhine.

Pregnant wāhine were well supported with access to midwifery services, and the Mothers with Babies Unit was a suitable and well-maintained environment. The outdoor play area was a good size, with new equipment. However, there were too few custodial staff available and trained to support the Mothers with Babies Unit effectively

It was pleasing to note that wāhine have access a good range of education, rehabilitation, training and work and reintegration opportunities, although there were few Release to Work positions.