Visiting prison and COVID-19

Last updated: 06 May 2022

Corrections has a three-stage model to manage the risk posed by COVID-19 in the community.

We also have vaccination requirements for people visiting prisons.

Prisons operate at one of three COVID-19 Stages, which reflects the level of risk for each prison, regardless of the traffic light setting.

All prisons are currently in Stage 3 of our response model. Face-to-face visits for private visitors are currently unable to take place. Virtual and phone options will be available where possible.

We are constantly reviewing our settings to ensure they continue to reflect the level of risk for each prison.

Read more about how we are Managing COVID-19 at Corrections.

Stages at each prison

This table shows which stage each site it at.

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Face-to-face visits continue for private, legal, specified, and statutory visitors.
Virtual /phone options also available where possible.
No face-to-face visits for private and legal visitors.
Virtual/phone options will be available where possible as the primary option.
No face-to-face visits for private, legal, and specified visitors.
Virtual/phone options only available if possible.
N/AN/A
Auckland Prison
Mt Eden Corrections Facility
Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility
Auckland South Corrections Facility
Spring Hill Corrections Facility

Waikeria Prison

Northland Region Corrections Facility

Tongariro Prison
Hawke's Bay Regional Prison
Whanganui Prison
Manawatu Prison
Rimutaka Prison
Arohata Prison
Christchurch Men’s Prison
Christchurch Women’s Prison
Rolleston Prison
Otago Corrections Facility 
Invercargill Prison

When you visit

You will need to:

  • show a printed copy of your My Vaccine Pass or a printed copy of your vaccination record
  • use the contact tracing system in place at each site
  • pass a thermal camera to screen for high temperatures
  • follow COVID-19 safety instructions staff give you.

If you are unwell, please stay home.

Vaccination requirements

Requiring COVID-19 vaccination for people who work in or visit prisons supports the safety and wellbeing of our staff and people in prison.

This page explains the vaccination entry requirements for different types of visitors. These requirements are in addition to being an authorised or approved visitor.

Proof of vaccination

If you are required to be vaccinated to enter a prison ‘inside the wire’, you must show us proof of your vaccination status each time you enter a prison.

Please bring a physical copy of your My Vaccine Pass and valid photo ID with you.  Remember you can’t bring cellphones into prison.

You can apply for your My Vaccine Pass at www.mycovidrecord.nz.

Entry requirements

Type of visitor

Includes

Requirement

Private
Anyone aged 12 years 3 months and over visiting a person in prison with the purpose of maintaining family and social relationships e.g. whānau, family, and friends.
Must be fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals may be able to visit virtually.

People attending hearings in prison
Victims and support people attending NZ Parole Board hearings or restorative justice meetings.
Must be fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals may be able to attend virtually.

Contractors and suppliers
Construction & maintenance, contracted service providers, delivery workers going ‘inside the wire’, etc.
Must be fully vaccinated
Specified visitors
Specified visitors include those who provide social, cultural, or religious services to prisoners, volunteers, and people who provide certain assistance to prisoners (such as preparing for a disciplinary hearing).
Must be fully vaccinated
Lawyers
Lawyers providing legal services to prisoners.
Corrections cannot require these visitors to be vaccinated however we strongly encourage all visitors to prisons to be fully vaccinated
Statutory visitors
Statutory visitors as defined in s3 of the Corrections Act 2004 such as Visiting Justices, an Ombudsman, member of the Human Rights Commission, etc.
Corrections cannot require these visitors to be vaccinated however we strongly encourage all visitors to prisons to be fully vaccinated
Visitors exercising their statutory authority
Employees or contractors of local or central government agencies exercising their statutory authority. For example:

Council compliance officers, food safety officers, Police investigating an offence, MSD or Oranga Tamariki workers performing a statutory function.

Corrections cannot require these individuals to be vaccinated when they enter prisons to exercise their statutory authority, however we strongly encourage all visitors to prisons to be fully vaccinated
Other visitors
Non-legal advisers or assistants helping a prisoner to prepare for a proceeding, private psychologists visiting a prisoner etc.
Prison Directors may require vaccination as a condition of entry for visitors who are not private or specified visitors, and who are not entering prisons to exercise their statutory authority

Corrections strongly encourages all visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering our sites.

Exemptions

Private and specified visitors who have received a My Vaccine Pass after successfully applying for an exemption from the Ministry of Health, you will be allowed entry.

Contractors and suppliers are expected to only send fully vaccinated workers into prisons ‘inside the wire’ while we work with them to manage any exemptions.