GUEST BLOG: Arthur Taylor – Can Anyone Rely on Corrections Inspectorate Reports?

By   /   March 6, 2018  /   4 Comments

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I have now had time to read the Inspectorate report about Auckland Prison in detail, dated June 2017.
The first thing that caught my eye was the “inspection team” was headed by Trevor Riddle.

I have now had time to read the Inspectorate report about Auckland Prison in detail, dated June 2017.
The first thing that caught my eye was the “inspection team” was headed by Trevor Riddle.

I know Trevor well, quite frankly he is a cover up merchant and I’d treat anything he says with the greatest of scepticisms.

The “report” confirms this. Anyone that relies on anything in it is deluding themselves. Trevor has spent most of his working life as a Corrections Officer, including at Manawatu Prison, Linton. A prison that during his time was renowned for violence and eventually trouble shooter Andy Langley has to be sent in to restore some sort of normality to the place. Treavor’s team says (key findings at para. 44) “most prisoners felt safe in the prison and relatively free from intimidation and stand over tactics”.

I don’t know who the “most prisoners” were who he spoke to, I was there in June 2017 and I certainly wasn’t spoken to.

False reporting was rife at Pare Max just like it was at Serco, Mt Eden, e.g. one day I saw a prisoner, Larry, brutally king hit without warning. He hadn’t seen it coming and in no way provoked it. He went to the medical and needed 7 stitches to his head. It was all on CTTV. Nevertheless, the report on the matter by Gulkan Arda described it as a fight and wanted to charge Larry and the attacker with “fighting” revictimizing him all over again. It wasn’t until I stepped in that the charge against Larry was dropped and the other prisoner charged with assault. This is typical, for a better more independent view of Pare Max read Duncan Garner’s story after he visited the place.

Another fantasy (see para. 287) that East Division and West Division “operate 8:00 am to 5:00 pm unlock regimes”. This gives the misleading impression that prisoners are out of their cells from 8am to 5pm. Nonsense, A Block where I was in June 2017 had the longest unlock hours in Pare Max 8:15 am to 11:20 am, locked from then until 1:10 pm, then locked again at 4:20pm until the next day. Most of the prisoners at Pare Max are lucky to get 3 hours a day out of their cells. Unlock is the only time rehabilitative activities can happen. The other 21 (on average) spent locked in their cells with nothing constructive to do.

When Corrections forcibly transferred me to a low/minimum security unit in December 2017, instead of increased unlock the prisoners here are locked up longer.

E.g. unlock this morning (Sunday) was 8:22 am, we will be locked again at 11:45 am through to about 3:05 pm. Then locked from 4:30 pm the next day, this is the routine on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. On remaining days, we get unlocked at about 8:20 am through to 11:45 am, then unlocked at about 1:05 pm to 4:30 pm and locked for the night.

As I said this is in a low/minimum security unit. So, that’s the reality and whatever B/S Corrections management may be deluding themselves, and others into. It is one of the complaints Inspector Jason Ekins decided at our AVL on Friday to record the outcome as “unresolved”.

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  1. Tiger Mountain says:

    keep up the good work Arthur, it is a hard road with the punitive, authority loving attitude of so many New Zealanders, but the dirty f*****s you describe will be held to account eventually

  2. Wanman says:

    The problem is the Inspectorate reports to the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections and will never say anything which may reflect badly on him.

  3. Michelle says:

    agree 100% Tiger Mountain. There is some bloody evil people in our prison system and they ain’t all prisoners.

  4. MattyGee says:

    Just shocking. When I was a young architecture grad I did some work at Waikeria Prison, and I recall seeing lots and lots of young men looking board and fed up. Just a horrible and nonconstructive atmosphere.