Ara Poutama Aotearoa - the Department of Corrections is developing a new prison with a dedicated mental health and addiction service at Waikeria Prison. The facilities will provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for staff, prisoners, and their whānau.
In June 2018 the Minister of Corrections Hon Kelvin Davis announced plans to develop a new 500-bed facility at Waikeria Prison, with an additional 100-bed dedicated mental health and addiction service.
The development represents a significant investment in strengthening mental health services and providing more rehabilitation, education and training space and opportunities for people in prison.
The new facility represents a step forward to realising our organisational strategy Hōkai Rangi. The new facility will feature more spaces for whānau interaction than seen in any of our prisons to date. Multiple visits facilities combined with greater use of technology to promote contact between prisoners and their whānau will help support their reintegration with the community.
Modern accommodation will also help to decrease prisoner tension and improve staff working conditions. It also means more offenders from around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions will have the opportunity to serve their sentences closer to their whānau and support networks.
The Waikeria Mental Health and Addiction Service will be the first of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are working in partnership with mana whenua Raukawa and Ngāti Maniapoto, and the Waikato District Health Board to design the Mana Whenua – Ahi Kā Model of Care for the new service.
The new facility is scheduled to be delivered in August 2022. A period of commissioning will occur before new prison units are brought into operation in 2023.