Human rights in NZ prisons
Prisoners have the right to be treated with humanity, dignity and respect while in prison, therefore there are a number of human rights standards in place to ensure safe detention.
Domestic human rights standards
- Human Rights Act 1993:this protects people from unlawful discrimination
- New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990: protects the rights of people who have been arrested or detained and the rights of people charged with an offence. NZBORA also protects the right to a fair trial and right to justice
- Crimes of Torture Act 1989: this prohibits torture
- Corrections Act 2004: sets out the minimum entitlements for prisoners
- Corrections Regulations 2005
- Health and Disability Commissioner (Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights) Regulations 1996: establishes the rights of consumers of health and disability services. The standard of health care that is available to prisoners in a prison must be reasonably equivalent to the standard of health care available to the public (Corrections Act 2004 s75(2)).
International human rights standards
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
- Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
If a prisoner believes their human rights have not been respected, or one of the above standards has been breached, they can complain. If a prisoner wishes to make a complaint, they can follow this process:
When a prisoner or someone on behalf of the prisoner formally draws attention to any action which the complainant wishes to have investigated or reviewed, Correction’s employees are guided by the Prison Operations Manual, which helps employees with the day-to-day activities of managing a prison:
Contract managed prisons
There is currently one contract managed prison in New Zealand: Auckland South Corrections Facility. The Chief Executive of Corrections retains ultimate responsibility for prisoners and is provided with regular reports from the prison monitor on the contractor’s performance. Find out more about contract managed prisons: