GUEST BLOG: Arthur Taylor – Rat shit in prison food



Last week  Daniel’s lunch arrived with rat droppings in it. His request for a replacement was refused and he told me. I advised him to lodge a formal complaint, which he did.

Today, he was informed he will be transferred to Tongariro. This will be very inconvenient for his Auckland based family to visit . By law ( Corrections Act s. 151 ), Corrections must give 7 days notice of a transfer.

Pleas by his wife and his lawyer to prison management have been to no avail.

TDB Recommends

There have been concerns about poor hygiene in the prison kitchen. I will be following this up with the local Authority that has the responsibility for inspections of food service areas ( including prisons) under the Food Act 2014.


Arthur Taylor is TDBs Prisoner Rights blogger currently in jail.


  1. They are a law unto themselves those bloody guards. Something must be able to be done when they haven’t given 7 days notice, who does one complain to? Does there have to be a reason to transfer someone?

    • There are set criteria in law as to when a prisoner can be transferred and the reason must fall under one or more of those listed in s54 of the Corrections Act 2004.

      In addition, s55 (not s151 as Arthur notes above) states:

      (1) A prisoner must be—

      (a) informed of an impending transfer, and the destination, at least 7 days in advance; and
      (b) provided with a reasonable opportunity to inform a member of his or her family of the impending transfer, and the destination, before the transfer is made.


      2) Subsection (1) does not apply if—

      (d) the transfer is being made to allow for the effective management of the national prisoner muster.

      This is the excuse they always use – that a prisoner is being moved because of muster requirements.
      Accordingly, no 7 day period is required and no phone call is provided.

  2. Bloody arseholes that is wrong transferring him for that reason and because they cant be bothered with dealing with the issue so they just transfer the prisoner. No care for the whanau being able to visit and the visit helps with rehab. As for the food having rat shit in it someone needs to be held accountable for this working in the kitchen should be a privilege and only those you can trust should be allowed to work there especially if they are cooking the other prisoners food.

    • More of the national party mess left for the next government to fix and when there is so much mess where do you actually start?

  3. Corrections do not give anyone the required (statutory) 7 days advance notice of transfer.
    I doubt it has ever happened and if it did, it was a very long time ago.
    This is all part of their policy for ‘muster control’.
    The inmate is only told of their transfer about half an hour before they are on the bus or in the van.
    They are given little or no time to pack up their belongings, and once done they are taken and put in a holding cell.
    There is no opportunity to call their family, their lawyer or anyone else who may be able to organize a stay of transfer.
    It is done on purpose to prevent this from happening.
    Only when the inmate reaches the next jail are they able to call anyone, and by then it is too late.
    Corrections know damn well that even though they are obliged to give 7 days notice, no one is going to take a case to court against them on these grounds.
    Even if someone did, I guarantee they’d lie and say it was an administrative oversight or some other excuse.
    It’s the old “we get away with it because we can” scenario.

Comments are closed.