Corrections acknowledges the release of the Ombudsman’s report of the unannounced OPCAT (Optional Protocol for the Convention Against Torture) inspection of Tongariro Prison in May  2019.

Out of the 17 recommendations made from the inspection, Corrections has accepted 15 recommendations either partially or in full. Work has been completed or commenced in relation to all of those recommendations since the time of the inspection.

Corrections Chief Custodial Officer Neil Beales said the Ombudsman’s report concluded that there was a clear sense of purpose at the prison and that it showed good practice and delivered good outcomes.

“The Ombudsman noted there was little violence or any social behaviour and levels of self harm, drug use and use of force was low,” said Mr Beales.

“The inspectors also found that the general environment of the prison was excellent and that cultural provision was well embedded across the site and that the prison could be considered a centre of excellence in terms of establishing and embedding Corrections’ values.”

The report also found that the relationships between staff and prisoners were positive ; that many prisoners participated in a range of constructive and recreational activities and that partnerships with a range of national and local providers resulted in a good range of activities and events for the prisoners.

The Ombudsman’s report raised concern about the state of some of Tongariro’s facilities and units.

“There is extensive work being done on new facilities at Tongariro, including new modular units. Once operational, these units will house five classrooms, four activity rooms, two dining rooms, two serveries, four interview rooms, two laundry rooms, two internal courtyards and a health facility,” said Mr Beales.

“Every day our staff go to work to ensure accepted international standards of safety, human dignity, rehabilitation and reintegration needs within prisons are met,” said Mr Beales.

“We are prepared to listen and monitor our work and if standards are not being maintained we move quickly to improve our work, wherever possible. It is pleasing to see that the Ombudsman has noted the good work being done by staff.”

Read the full report on the Ombudsman's website.