26 June 2008
The Department of Corrections today announced plans to move prisoners out of Wellington Prison, one of Corrections' oldest and smallest facilities.
Assistant Regional Manager Southern Liz Nielsen anticipates that this will be a temporary measure.
"Wellington Prison accommodates approximately 100 prisoners and is equivalent to the size of a large unit in many of our prisons.
"We routinely open and close units when the prison population fluctuates. This enables us to make the best use of taxpayer dollars."
Corrections is currently experiencing a seasonal prison population trough. Closing prison wings and units during times of low population is not uncommon and is a management practice employed by the Department. We have been doing this for many years and it is currently in practice across the country.
"By temporarily closing Wellington Prison we can relocate staff to existing higher security units within Rimutaka Prison.
"Most corrections officers are employed on a regional basis and can work at any prison within the region. Staff currently employed at Wellington Prison can be transferred to either Rimutaka or Arohata Prison."
Ms Nielsen says the majority of prisoners at Wellington Prison are from outside the region. The intention is to move as many of these prisoners as possible back to their home regions where they will be closer to support networks in the community when they are ultimately released.
"Prisoners participating in work and rehabilitation programmes at Wellington Prison will be given the opportunity to continue these at the prison site they are transferred to.
"Because Wellington Prison is an old facility, temporarily vacating the prison will enable maintenance work to be carried out more effectively and efficiently.
"Wellington Prison will be able to be opened at short notice should it be operationally necessary."
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