The revelation that prisoners held in solitary confinement have surged 78% since Labour came to power highlights how toxic our prison culture has become.
This despite a 2017 UN report that said NZ used solitary confinement at rates four times higher than England and that Māori were more likely to face it.
The Chief Ombudsman has launched yet another report looking into the use of solitary confinement but we don’t need another report to understand that the use of solitary as a punishment actually amounts to torture.
Human Beings are social animals, depriving us of social interaction can drive humans mad, sick and depressed.
What we are doing here is using punishment techniques that damage the prisoners even more in an environment of violence and total control.
This is not only an immoral technique, it exacerbates a counterproductive prison environment where prisoners are released more damaged than when they went in!
This toxic neoliberal punishment culture desperately needs to be replaced by Tikanga values in the same way Oranga Tamariki was taken over.
Prisoners would benefit far more from values based on Māori culture than sterile Pākehā bureaucracy.