The Lived Experience of Women in Prisons
My decision to undertake this thematic inspection arose from recognition of a real and present opportunity for the Department of Corrections, Ara Poutama Aotearoa, to reimagine and redesign the way in which women are managed in prison and prepared for transition back to the community.
My Office began with a foundation of contemporary insights with inspections of all three women’s prisons in 2020: Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, Arohata Prison and Christchurch Women’s Prison. This was an important starting platform, necessary to best position the methodology for this thematic work. All three reports of these inspections have been publicly released.
This report provides insights into the vulnerabilities and specific needs of women which, while recognised in the Department’s Women’s Strategy (2017-2021) | Wāhine E Rere Ana Ki Te Pae Hou, were never fully realised. It importantly also shares the voices and lived experiences of both women in prison and staff, which provides perhaps the most powerful and compelling messages of all.