Inspection report for Invercargill Prison 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.

Despite Invercargill Prison’s age, it was pleasing to note that the South and Centre Units provided a clean and well-maintained environment. The conditions in the Remand Unit, however, were poor and the Department took immediate steps to respond to my concerns. The unit was closed and the men relocated soon after the inspection.

We found that prisoners generally felt safe, except for those in the Remand Unit, and most were not concerned about the influence of gangs in the prison.

Prisoners’ health needs were generally being met. Waiting times to see a nurse or doctor were reasonable, but some men had to wait to receive dental treatment. Prisoners had access to a variety of mental health providers.

At times, more prisoners required placement in the Intervention and Support Unit, which houses at risk prisoners, than the unit could accommodate.

Our inspection found there were few opportunities for prisoners to practise Māori culture and customs.

Sentenced prisoners had access to a wide range of education programmes and work opportunities. However, they needed to transfer to other prisons to access offence-focused rehabilitation programmes. Remand prisoners had less access to education and could not take part in rehabilitation.