New Zealand Labour Party

Fight Club failings

The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.

“The Chief Inspector’s Reports confirms what we’ve known all along – the prisoners had taken control of the prison which is nothing but an appalling indictment on the National Government’s privatisation experiment with the Serco circus.

“The report confirms fight club violence was widespread throughout the whole prison, happening at least once a week and security staff simply weren’t stopping it because they’re playing pool or table tennis.

“The Minister should be ashamed that pack attacks or single assaults by senior gang members from the Killer Beez, Head Hunters, Black Power or other gangs were ordered if prisoners refused to scrap with each other.

“Serco management was given multiple reports of organised fighting so it’s hard to believe they were ‘unlikely unaware’ of the full extent of fighting.

“The fact staff were the most likely suspects as the main source of contraband isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the lack of security around staffing rosters where no staff were present or were playing pool or table tennis while inmates engaged in violent attacks.

“Confirmation that prisoner rights were being denied and kitchen sanitation was below acceptable health standards is not good enough.

“Labour got rid of private prisons and National brought them back in with Judith Collins claiming, ‘I’m confident that the company will bring the high standards of professionalism, safety, rehabilitation and security expected by the Government …'

“The damning report shows private prisons have no place in New Zealand and the Minister must give Serco the boot from Wiri and commit to not reprivatizing Mt Eden,” says Kelvin Davis.