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Report on inspections at Manawatu Prison and Matawhāiti Residence under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989

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The Chief Ombudsman is calling on Ara Poutama Aotearoa | The Department of Corrections to address outstanding concerns at Manawatū Prison and the secure Matawhāiti Residence in Christchurch.

Mr Boshier has released two OPCAT inspection reports - Manawatū Prison was completed in September 2022 and the secure Matawhāiti Residence completed in February 2023.

Mr Boshier says the Manawatū Prison has implemented a number of changes since the previous inspection in 2016, including security improvements and ending segregation orders early in appropriate cases.

However there were still concerns, including the use of pepper spray in confined spaces and in cases of passive resistance.  He also highlighted ageing buildings at the prison and the time it is taking to replace them.

Mr Boshier’s inspection at the Matawhāiti Residence was a follow up from an inspection in 2020.

The 24-bed facility opened in the grounds of Christchurch Men’s Prison in 2017. Matawhāiti is a secure facility for high-risk individuals detained under a Public Protection Order (PPO).

Inspectors observed positive effects on residents’ wellbeing and reintegration opportunities after the facility took up the previous report recommendation for access to supervised leave for residents.

The main issue identified in this latest report is the lack of rehabilitative treatment suitable to the needs of the individual residents.

The Department has accepted all of the Chief Ombudsman’s recommendations for both facilities at a site level and national level.

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New Zealand signed up to the United Nations’ Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in 2007. The Chief Ombudsman is a ‘National Preventive Mechanism’ (NPM) under OPCAT, meaning he monitors prisons and other places of detention (like health and disability facilities) to ensure they meet international human rights.

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