Monitoring places of detention

Aroturuki i ngā wāhi whakarau

We visit places where people are detained to check their treatment and conditions.

Places that people cannot leave at will, and we inspect, include:

  • prisons
  • court cells
  • mental health facilities
  • intellectual disability facilities
  • aged care facilities
  • COVID-19 managed isolation and quarantine facilities
  • immigration detention centres.

The Ombudsman then makes recommendations to these places to improve the conditions of detention and detainee treatment.

OPCAT inspection reports

Aged care monitoring

We have more information about this work in multiple languages and accessible formats.

Monitoring places of detention pamphlet


The Chief Ombudsman’s designation on 1 April 2020 as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic required him to reset his planned inspection programme. These resources provide more information about his inspections during the pandemic.

Media statements

Chief Ombudsman to begin inspections of COVID-19 managed isolation and quarantine facilities

Parliament’s independent watchdog to inspect secure aged care facilities

Chief Ombudsman sets out principles for the treatment of detainees during COVID-19

Chief Ombudsman continues to monitor treatment of detainees

Statement of principles & inspection criteria

The Ombudsman provided agencies responsible for places of detention with a set of principles and his inspection criteria, to guide them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OPCAT inspections during COVID-19 pandemic – update and Statement of Principles poster OPCAT inspections and visits during COVID-19 pandemic – update and Statement of Principles

Criteria for OPCAT COVID-19 Inspections - pamphlet
Criteria for OPCAT COVID-19 inspections 

Other resources

COVID-19: Measures needed to protect people deprived of liberty, UN torture prevention body says – United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Ombudsman says positive steps by prisons to keep out COVID-19 has been at the expense of some prisoners’ rights
Report on COVID-19 inspections of prisons

Mental health services inspected generally got it right over ‘lockdown’
Report on COVID-19 inspections of mental health facilities