This is the personal blog of Roger Brooking.
I have been working as an alcohol and drug counsellor in Wellington for the last fifteen years. Most of my clients are in the justice system – which is not surprising considering that 80% of crime occurs under the influence of alcohol and drugs
During this time I have discovered that the courts repeatedly fail to mandate or encourage offenders into treatment; in 2012, only 13% of offenders were told to attend alcohol and drug treatment as part of their sentence. As a result, most relapse, re-offend and 70% return to prison within five years. Since 2010, there has been an increase in rehabilitation programmes available in prison but their effectiveness is very limited. There is almost no support for prisoners when they come out. This situation has been so frustrating to me that I wrote a book about it: Flying Blind – How the justice system perpetuates crime and the Corrections Department fails to correct.
Flying Blind describes the way in which groups like the so-called Sensible Sentencing Trust have dominated public debate about justice and sentencing issues in New Zealand.
Victoria University criminologist Prof John Pratt has described this manipulation of the media as political populism and says it has driven competition between the major political parties in Western democracies to appear tough on law and order. This has led to increased use of remand, longer sentences and the building of more and more prisons. As a result, New Zealand now has the second highest rate of imprisonment in the West; we lock up nearly 200 people out of every 100,000 of our population.
In the process, little attention is paid to addressing the drivers of crime or providing rehabilitation. Flying Blind describes the political and systemic obstacles which stand in the way of early intervention and effective rehabilitation – and keep offenders locked into a vicious cycle of crime.
Flying Blind also points out that using prison as the default strategy for dealing with crime is ineffective and imposes an unacceptable financial burden on the taxpayer. New Zealand is facing the biggest financial deficit in its history and we need to find a new approach. This blog provides a vehicle for comment on these issues.
‘Pharmacological torture’ and the need for prison reform
In 2013, I began to pay attention to the inhumane and degrading treatment the Corrections Department imposes on prisoners in New Zealand. In particular, I became concerned about the use of the so-called At Risk cells where prisoners are subject to isolation, sensory deprivation and sleep deprivation. I found out that prisoners are frequently denied opiate pain killers and other common medications because the Department’s Medicines Policy “actively discourages” prison doctors from prescribing these medications. The Department also has a ‘minimum dental services policy‘ which is used to deny prisoners proper dental treatment often leaving them in pain for months on end.
Theses policies are so inhumane they constitutes a form of pharmacalogical torture and contributes to New Zealand’s high prison suicide rate. The Howard League for Penal Reform has also been helping to address these issues.
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“In the process, little attention is paid to providing rehabilitation.”
What rehabilitation Roger? The reason they are being locked up longer is because your Criminology mates have failed to come up with anything that prevents re-offending. You can’t tell me that Restorative Justice is the answer. What rehab have you got that works?
“Associate Professor Greg Newbold, School of Sociology and Anthropology
Since 1910, New Zealand has been engaged in a constant search to find a method of rehabilitating criminals that really works. In 1996, inspired by the work of Canadian criminologist Paul Gendreau and others, the Department of Corrections embarked on a new experiment called Integrated Offender Management (IOM). Based on a psychotherapeutic model, IOM involves a complicated and expensive process of identifying an inmate’s ‘criminogenic needs’, creating programs to address those ‘needs’, and applying the programs in the hope of preventing further offending. When initially conceived it was hoped that IOM would produce at least a 25 percent improvement in overall correctional efficiency. Eleven years on, with five-year reconviction rates remaining in the region of 86 percent, it appears that IOM has failed. This paper examines the objectives, strategy, and actual implementation of IOM in New Zealand, and suggests why the project inevitably foundered. “
There was also no chance that Integrated Offender Management (IOM) would ever make any difference. Its focus is on designing rehabilitation programmes. But the Corrections Department does not provide adequate funding to even address literacy problems of prisoners (estimated to affect 90% of prisoners), let alone rehabilitation of a similar percentage with alcohol and drug problems.
IOM also ignores the lack of accommodation and support available to prisoners on release. In other words, IOM is an ill-conceived strategy lacking in clear goals which was never funded properly. Of course it failed.
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and it always will fail, it is designed to fail…… there is no follow up upon release, and ex con can not get work other than labouring if they are lucky, they can not even get insurance with an insurance company like AA or State for car, boat, and house and contents…….so no wonder they re-offend, as some times it is the only way a family can survive, with Dad locked up the state will help mum…….come on NZ wake up, smell the roses
Have a look at:
Good to see your blog Roger 🙂 From a person who just left prison I knew I needed help, I asked for help, there was absolutely no help. From my unit of 60 people not 1 person was on a program for rehabilitation ? This has to be at least part of the reason we are in prison to rehabilitate or at least get the opportunity. I know I am not perfect and have many faults but at least I want to try and change
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Excellent Roger….So what would be helpful for those in prison who also have alcohol &/or drug issues? Could clinics from the health units in prisons be utilised? I know there are community rehab places for forensic psych folks; would they be a useful model? I’d love to be part of this….
The National government has doubled the availability of alcohol and drug treatment in prison so that now approximately 1,000 prisoners a year can attend. However, 23,000 people spend time in prison each year so 1,000 is less than 5%.
Another gaping gap in the system is that there is very little funding for alcohol and drug assessments on prisoners applying for parole. This is why Judge Carruthers made the comment that the Parole Board is ‘flying blind’ – which became the title of my new book (see the link at the top of the page).
Finally, there is a woeful lack of supported accommodation and halfway houses in the community for those coming out of prison. New Zealand releases only 1% of prisoners into halfway houses compared with 60% in Canada. Judge Carruthers says that because of the extensive use of halfway houses, the Canadians are 5 to 6 times more successful than New Zealand at reducing reoffending .
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I had great passion for wanting to “get out there” and help offenders by either being involved in the creation of programmes or policies surrounding them and working around educating our society or by helping the offenders themselves. Unfortunately, with everything National have done I feel “helpless” to even try. How are we meant to help when National have made things more difficult? what are the chances now for rehabilitation? for adequate justice? It is a real shame. Only when society wake up will we see these changes.
As a former prisoner who was jailed under the banner of a “miscarriage of justice”, and having been released some five years ago after serving 14 months, the biggest problem I have found is finding someone willing to give me a chance to prove what a fantastic employee I can be. Mental health was an area I felt I could contribute to in a positive way…but no, halfway through completing tertiary study to become a Mental Health Support Worker I am told that I am unsuitable to be considered for employment due to my conviction. The fact that I was deemed suitable to do two days a week work placement (unpaid I might add), given my own login and password to that organisation’s computer system perplexes me! I’m ok to do unpaid work…but not okay to be a fully paid employee. Were I any weaker I would have become a “reoffending statistic” and resorted to the crime I was supposed to have committed in the first place. I now suffer from low esteem as I cannot become a contributing member of society again; I am what people would now class as a benefit bludger; and I find it very daunting, to say the least, that this is my lot for the rest of my life. My loss…the country’s loss…your loss. For as long as people who wish to show society they have changed are stopped from doing that, there will always be people who will return to the comfort and safety of a life of crime. Where is the logic in that?
Book came today, have just read the first 60 pages. Great stuff!
The other night I emailed my MP (Hayes, National) about it and await his reply (if any) with interest. If necessary I shall keep hassling him. Horrified that the Nats wouldn’t even accept your book, but at least that makes their stance clear.
Is your talk (as per website) available on DVD? Our Lions Club could watch it. Easier on you than asking you to come over the hill.
All the best Roger, and strength to your arm. Lives blighted by alcohol and drugs are a scourge on this otherwise fair land.
It is truly overwhelming that such a small nation has one government after the other that does little or nothing of significant impact to alter the disgraceful facts relating to the current judicial system.
New Zealand and it’s governments seem to take pride in the fact that the Department Of Corrections is not only the biggest ministry in the government, the biggest sap on public money and being handed out the biggest budget to deal with what is essential an ineffective escalating problem when dealing with crime and punishment?
What is quite appalling is that for such a small nation with a small population that the government looks to the USA as an example and to set a precedence for it’s new pilot scheme of drug courts. The USA have been using drug courts as a way to deal with drug and alcohol related crime for the past 20 years, what record of achievement do they have to be proud of? over the past 20 years this has not improved or altered the fact that they still have the highest number of prisoners, they also hand out the longest and harshest prison sentences and cripple all offenders with their oppressive system which statistics prove serves no purpose other than continue to have a serious problem with offenders and over crowded prisons.
Why can’t New Zealand think for itself or at least look at countries that have proven positive statistics to deal with crime and punishment.Why look at a country with such a disgraceful track record of failure within its judicial history with a never ending escalating prison population. Surely prevention will always be better than cure. Looking at the Scandinavian ethos of working on rehabilitating offenders with proven statistics of low recidivism and low prison statistics is surely how the department of corrections and this government should be examining and putting into practice. Perhaps they are scared and concerned that the likes of the large number of small minded individuals of Joe public will object to a system treating criminals with compassion, humanity and support, even if it means saving large sums of the tax payers money. To reverse these peoples ignorant attitude that believe the only way to stop crime is to lock up a person and preferably for as long as possible may cost the government a few votes perhaps this is the crux of the matter.
As a parent of a wayward offender who has struggled from the age of 17 to finish his education whilst in prison and is continuing to struggle with a system that offers NO help whatsoever to encourage, support and assist him go onto tertiary education or obtain distance learning degree it is important to comprehend the serious damage prison does to each and every prisoner.My son’s education in a failed criminal system is extensive and he will graduate from prison with a first class degree. Hopefully he will not return there to take his masters or doctorate but that remains to be seen given the current circumstances.
A prison sentence may be handed out as a punishment for a wrong doing, however once that punishment has been given in way of a prison sentence it doesn’t stop once a prisoner is released.Every prisoner that leaves prison with a conviction has to live with on going difficulties that their criminal record provides for them. This as Sue says prevents people from any chance of reintegration into society and very little hope of being able to get on with a purposeful life.
In my son’s case he was initially given a home detention sentence which he was not permitted to serve at home owing to the fact that the security system cut off point was not within the boundaries of our home town, which incidently is not a small rural town but a reasonably large town with a number of serious drink and drug issues.So why the security services are not in operation there is beyond my comprehension.
Prior to being sentenced my son was held in a men’s prison in the Hawkes Bay at 17 years of age before being granted bail. Whilst in prison he was hit over the head with a chair sustained a concussion and received 12 stitches.
When he was sentenced the judge gave alcohol and drug counselling as part of his sentence this was essentially because we asked his lawyer to suggest it. We then jumped through hoops and went to great lengths to try to prevent him having to serve a prison sentence so we rented a house within the catchment area so he could serve his sentence there. Thereafter we struggled with the angry irrational behaviour of our son and tried to help him however we could. He refused to have me live with him and was seriously in need of help from an experienced source of counselling, this was not forth coming. After two months our son re offended with the help of other wayward men who invited themselves into his life and added to his confusion. This time his crime was more serious and although he did not injure anyone his anger was fueled by alcohol and his irrational behaviour was incited and encourage by the company he was keeping who went out and supplied alcohol and drugs knowing he was under age.
When I spoke to his probation officer I asked him why he hadn’t initiated counselling as a priority his answer was he did not think he needed it! I then pointed out to him that it was written in black and white in his sentence report. I then wrote to the Department Of Corrections and complained and still have not had the courtesy of a reply. I also complained to the area senior probation officer who then advised me it was my fault my son had re offended because I hadn’t done as I had agreed to and live with my son! the fact that we gone to the expense of renting a house, helping him financially, emotionally and in whichever way we could obviously was not enough.
The help he needed needed to prevent him from re offending needed come from his probation officer and the Department Of Correction implementing what is required of them. Counselling alongside with our support and love. Expecting a wayward, misguided youth with anger management problems related to alcohol or other underlying issues to sit in a house 24/7 and think that’s the answer is ridiculous in fact my husband did live him as he didn’t want me to but he had to leave due to work two weeks before my son re offended. I spent every other day visiting my son and speaking to him about his life and behaviour. The fact that we had other commitments and another child to care for also had to be considered, if I had lived with my son he may or may not of relapsed even if he’s been at home serving his sentence he also may have re offended. But apart from anything else we did or did not do to help prevent our son re offend if a judge states drug and alcohol counselling is necessary it should be a legal requirement for it to be provided and it is a failure of the system to not try to prevent re offending because it simply does not provide a safety net or any support to offenders on home detention.
Within the space of a few days of my son having re offended there began a media circus because his criminal act had involved a policeman. The media took delight alongside a local police sergeant of publishing an article with this particular police sergeant smiling photo and boasting how proud he was of the policeman that dealt with the crime, the article gave incorrect facts and detrimental information relating to their version of events. Subsequently another 8 articles and mud slinging by the media took place with my son’s full name and age being published in one article, in others incorrect facts were published in newspapers, on the radio and internet. At this time my son was trying to establish and confirm many critical facts relating to the charges being laid against him he was considering going to trial as he felt he had the right to disprove some of his charges. If he had gone to trial it would have been futile, a jury would have been influenced greatly by the media and the police prosecution were determined to lay as many charges as they could throw at him to ensure he was locked up for as long as possible. This seems to be the usual police tactics throw the book at them and lock them up.
My son spent a year in remand trying to battle with the system and also a barrister who seemed to batting on the wrong side, his barrister dismissed the media circus as inconsequential and seemed to dismiss everything as irrelevant other than tell me repeatedly that my son would serve a prison sentence. My son changed his barrister due to his frustration with his attitude he advised my son that he thought I was crazy! Obviously I am happy to have that label if it means trying to help your child means I am crazy. My craziness doesn’t make me blind or unaware of the serious problems my son has, nor does it make us proud of what he has done with the last few years of his life. My crazy views are that people do not seriously misbehave without reason, trying to punish a crime without resolving the underlying reasons won’t make the problems go away.
During the time my son was held in remand we asked for him to have counselling, this was not allowed, we asked if we could bring in a counselor this was allowed but only for a psychological assessment, further counseling would not be available on legal aid.I then had to a lot of time and trouble to find a counselor prepared to go in and evaluate my son. It occurred to us that as a baby our son had been concussed when my husband was walking him in a baby carrier and tripped over on a forest walk, when my husband tripped over he fell towards a tree and our son’s head had impact with the tree. From the age of 4 our son played rugby, he was also a keen skier and snowboarder, he was also whacked over the head with a chair, all of these concussions could have affected his brain development.
If we also take into account the fact that the brain is not fully developed sometimes until the mid 20’s and accounts for a large percentage of teens behaving irrationally, taking excessive risks, sometimes with dangerous thrill seeking and alcohol and drugs often being involved. Due to hormonal changes and frontal cortex not being fully developed, combined with concussions it occurred to us that our sons irrational misbehaviour may be explained and obviously needs to be addressed. Our son doesn’t actually see he has issues which also makes it difficult.
Since our son’s second sentence was passed to datehe still has not received any counselling for drug and alcohol abuse he has been assessed and found to have partial brain complex. His sentence again stated he should have alcohol and drug counseling, he has now served one third of a three and half year sentence without any help or attempt to rehabilitate him.
Nor has he received any encouragement to study. What he does receive though is provocation and brutality from prison wardens that take pleasure in physically assaulting him and other inmates, one involved kicking his head and body causing another concussion as he blacked out and was only told about the extent of the assault by another prisoner who watched what happened. These attacks have taken place on two occasions, the first time he was assaulted because he refused to carry all his belongings and tv into a punishment wing, he was being punished because he objected peacefully to being subjected to power cuts, heating being turned off, electricity turned off, being left outside in extreme weather. He and other prisoners had a peaceful protest which antagonised and provoked the prison wardens and head of the wing causing them to weld a petty, sadistic retaliation. Of course this won’t help my son and he is now deemed a trouble maker and picked on. Fortunately one attack was caught on CCTV. But what is the purpose and point of this kind of punishment, what is this attitude and behaviour by the police and prison wardens doing to rectify crime? two wrongs do not ever make a right.
Similarly if we look at the system when arrests take place, the police seem to have this obsession with charging virtually every drug and alcohol related crime with other charges usually claiming the offender resisted arrest. Quite often as in my son’s case this was also a charge, however the truth is my son did not resist arrest, he was chased in police pursuit even though the police were aware of who he was and they suspected he was intoxicated, they claimed he put other peoples lives at risk, they chased him at speeds of up 150 kilometers at 4am on a road that leads to the ocean and nowhere else, they chased his car and got so close he couldn’t have braked or stopped if had wanted to in short they provoked and incited a car crash, it is nothing short of a miracle that he survived the crash. He drove in winter icy road conditions for over 70 kilometers being chased and hounded in nothing more than a which hunt there was an occasion he could have been stopped without any drama and they chose not to. After his car rolled he crawled uninjured from the vehicle, he was kicked so hard in the leg he had swelling and a haematoma which didn’t subside for over three months, his body was also kicked and he sustained bruising and injuries from police brutality, his face was slammed up against the window of the police car which caused a cut to his eye. The doctor recommended he go to hospital for observation and suspected internal injuries which the police maintained he sustained from crashing the car. It seems quite illogical that during this arrest that my son could have been doing any resisting at all given the fact he had just survived a car crash either way if you look at the facts it would not have been likely he would have resisted arrest.
The serious consequences of my sons actions and his inability to cope with his irrational behaviour have caused us stress, emotional problems and financial problems, we continue to love, support and help our son because we know he acted out of reason. We know the person our son is, we have brought him up, cared for him and had high hopes for him, up until he was 16 he had high hopes for himself. He isn’t a stereotypical social misfit, he hasn’t suffered abuse or come from a dysfunctional family, he doesn’t have parents that are abusive or take drugs or drink excessively and he has been loved by his siblings and had many privileges offered to him. He is bright, clever and could have made many positive choices for himself.We don’t believe that we should do anything other than continue to help him. It is a constant struggle and battle because he says he has learnt his lesson but it hard to see how he can have done this given the fact that he isn’t being helped in anyway. His issues haven’t been addressed in any way and we have grave concerns how he will function and reintegrate when he is released next year.He won’t be eligible for parole because he hasn’t behaved himself and has been labelled a trouble maker. He won’t manage if given parole anyway because he doesn’t have a home or job and we no longer live in NZ. Nor will he be permitted to travel and live with us once he’s released to live with us with his criminal record.
It is all very sad and exhausting that this never ending vicious circle continues to go and on and on.
Currently in Otago Correctional Facility there are five men that have been locked up for twenty three hours a day in their punishment cells. They have been put into the punishment wing for over three months and denied any freedom other than an hour a day of basic exercise. This is apparently all perfectly legal.
You would think the reason they were in this wing was because they were a danger to others, had committed serious crimes, or had done something seriously dangerous. However this is not the case at all. They have merely raised a peaceful objection to the fact that they were being unnecessarily unfairly treated in the wing they were previously in. The power was turned off by the wardens, the water was cold when showering, they were left outside in freezing weather, rain and snow for long periods and they are given meager food which does not allow for growth development in young men.
This has lead to accusations and unfounded allegations directed at these men, a serious beating and assault on one or more of them and threats being made.
You would think that this correctional treatment would benefit these guys immensely! instead the correctional treatment has lead to further correctional treatment by putting them in lock down and denying them any basic human rights for months on end!
The youngest is 19 years old and has spent two years in OCT and has had NO drug or alcohol treatment at all during these two years, apparently they believe a prisoner has to earn the right to any counselling and they believe this is correctional and an acceptable way in which to teach prisoners about their wrong doing.
Hmmm, corrections officers appear to have become what the old MOT Officers were…bullies, bullies and more bullies…with the establishment on their side. And for as long as we have MP’s such as Judith Collins at the helm (ever heard some of the very derogatory statements she has made over the years, and in particular when she was Minister of Corrections?) then we don’t have a help in hell of ever helping society form mature, compassionate attitudes towards a group of people that such a large proportion of society deem as nothing less than something to scrape off the bottom of their shoe. No wonder some of these people never have the inclination nor desire to “conform”. Be warned…you reap what you sow.
Just got the link to this site from a friend. Great to have a forum like this.
I keep thinking the “powers that be” are never going to come up with a workable solution for any number of reasons. Maybe interested people and ex-inmates who’ve been sidelined by the system could get together and design something between them? This is straight off the top of my head but . . . what do you think?
i think that is a good idea, there seems to be many of us who have got the system hell bent on causing hurt and hardship on my family and isetting us up to fail…..
I agree would love to have a forum and a support group that would assist others when they are getting out or are out and having difficulty with a system that is designed to put them back inside, with idiots like Garth McVicars around we need it would like to start something if you agree then e-mail me email@example.com
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Some of the best ideas come right off the top of our heads, Chris! I have often thought it would be great to canvass businesses with a view to setting up some sort of reference list/database of businesses/employers who are sympathetic to the plight of prisoners trying to get up and get on and are willing to give them a chance to demonstrate that by way of employment. I, for one, would be keen and willing to work on something like this, but to be honest, haven’t a clue where to start! Perhaps if someone were able to give me some advice/guidance I could at least progress past the “what a good idea” stage and start doing something that would give more meaning to not just my life but many others out there who have served their time and just want to move on.
Chris and Sue, I would be 100% with you with any lobbying to inform the public of what is going on, also employers and the government, we could perhaps make some progress towards helping former prisoners, people with convictions, prisoners about to be released which will allow them to have some support and back up, instead of being treated like lepers or left to struggle.
I am about to email Simon Cunliffe the deputy editor of the Otago Daily, all editors will also be emailed by me and I will also be emailing John Key, Bill English, Ann Tolley and all publications such as North and South and The Listener. If more people start to highlight and raise objection to the disgraceful system then we may have an audience.
If you haven’t read Roger’s book please do. You can order it from your library.
I agree 100% the corrections department should be known as the corruptions department, every thing is set up to fail even upon their release, there is no follow up, parole officers are only to willing to send someone back to prison for breaking the so called rules……….where is the help there, if someone is convicted guilty or not and they do their hole lag they still get another six months of parole weekly reports this is rubbish……I attended some of these as a support person, what a lot of horse manure, there was no attempt to help support or steer this person in the right direction wake up Corrections Department you seem to be staffed, managed and run idiots
The problem is that prison staff can often be very dangerous and vindictive, their spite makes them perpetrators of abuse. Verbal spiteful comments, along with physical abuse sometimes excessive. petty punishments to provoke a reaction, excessively harsh punishment to appease their self gain and satisfaction which is directed frequently at prisoners that are helpless to object.
The law will not protect a prisoner once they are in prison they are condemned and deemed unworthy of justice. They have no rights, no voice and are powerless to raise objections.Justice in New Zealand for prisoners is non existent.
whole heartily agree, I have witnessed this first hand…..a young bloke 23yrs old at the time realized he had an anger problem and asked if he could be referred to an anger management program whilst inside.
I had known him from the age of 15 years old, but until he admitted he had a problem, nothing could be done. He finally admitted he had one, and was placed on a list, one particular Guard pushed him to the point where he finally broke, out of frustration and took it out on his cell, as punishment he was removed from the waiting list. Where is the support and help in this, this is not an isolated case, others on a waiting list for drug and alcohol courses have been removed from waiting lists for smoking dope while inside, come on wake up NZ.
where is the punishment for correction officers for not finding the stuff during cell inspections which are done every Saturday and at random during the week. In my experience some officers and I mean some are vindictive to the point of being a bully, one can only come to the conclusion that these uniformed bullies are only victims of similar things from their pasts.
i can back that up 100% from 1st hand experience…………….
Try this for cruel…my mother passed away while I was in prison. When called to the office to be told this devastating news I was also informed by the head of that particular unit that she would be withdrawing my application for back end home detention…which was to have been undertaken at my mother’s house. The reason she said she would be doing this was because now that I no longer had any family I did not qualify for home detention, which turned out to be absolute rubbish. The real reason? Comes to light that she hadn’t even started the application process for me even though she had been in possession of my paperwork and application for a couple of months so this provided the perfect opportunity for her to cover up that fact that she had not been doing her job. Thankfully I was moved shortly thereafter to the new facility at Wiri and discovered through the channels there that I was still entitled to apply for backend home detention..two months later saw me staying in my late mother’s house and starting my grieving process in a more humane way. Not an easy situation admittedly, but one I was very nearly deprived of.
Neither of these situations surprises me, it is very sad that people have to been made to suffer by sadistic prison wardens.
My son is still being subjected to ongoing inhumane treatment he is still in the punishment wing and locked up for 23 hours a day. I have had two visits this year both of which were in a booth. I was informed by the visitor receptionist that it is because he is deemed a high security risk! He is now facing charges being brought by a vindictive and spiteful prison unit manager.Who happens to be the same unit manager that believes it’s acceptable to turn off the power, keep prisoners outside in adverse weather conditions. This ongoing punishment is in retaliation for a peaceful protest. Apparently this punishment will be ongoing until October when it will come up for review which will be a year that he will have been left in a cell measuring 6ft x 8ft for 23 hours a day! Luckily he can read and exercises.
This is another example of the petty behaviour extended to me, every time I visit my son I travel long distance. It used to take me over 6 hours to do a return trip so it’s expensive and tiring. Now I live overseas so it takes an overnight stay and two days of travel, it is hugely expensive so I don’t visit very often. Each time I visit I check my watch with the clock in reception and each time I go through to see my son my visit is cut short by ten minutes because the guards inside the visiting area have their own time and agenda which wants to deprive prisoners and their visitors of ten minutes visiting time. I have complained three times about this and on my recent visit I explained to the guard that it was a visit costing me in excess of a $1000 and I didn’t want to be deprived of my last ten minutes with my son, instead of her saying okay she stood there arguing with me that her watch was correct, which took the best part of the ten minutes she should have given us. Again I checked my watch with reception and complained to the reception staff they suggested I write to the prison manager. It is unbelievably petty that we should be denied this ten minutes and it shouldn’t be necessary that I should have to waste my time writing to the prison manager about it.
Roger, have a look at http://www.fivepower.net/wardeez-writings.html I wanted to share with you my submission to the Green Paper on vulnerable children, regards
Are you still out there? just discovered your site and can identify with all the comments and this is the end of 2013!!!
Wake up NZ
Good to see someone identifying what some of the issues are and how we are wasting millions of dollars per year. My belief is that corrections is a self serving trap that has steadily increased its income over the last few years. I recently spent one month in Manawatu prison. Apart from one driving conviction I hadn’t offended for 25 years, since I had some dishonesty charges when I was 14- 19.
About three years ago I was convicted and sentenced to community work. After having a mountain biking accident in which I broke both hands, I was unable to complete my community work. After initially accepting this Corrections charged me with breaching community work. Nowhere did they mention in the court hearing about my injuries.
When I cross examined my probation officer and it emerged that I had broken hands, the breach was dismissed. A month later I was charged again with the crown prosecution service doing the prosecution. I was found guilty in absentia. At sentencing the probation officer completely mislead the court and I was sentenced to one month in prison. I had been working and employed three people at the time of being sentenced.
After being sent to prison, 5 different lots of people reported me missing to police. Whilst in prison my sister was told by prison staff that I wasn’t allowed visitors or any contact. While in prison I had to wear the same clothes for the whole 4 1/2 weeks I was there. In our particular wing, we were locked up most days for up to 23.5 hours. Corrections prison staff continuously lied to me about a number of things and issues. When I was released I was given $1.10 !!
NZ needs to wake up to the widespread corrections corruption. Having an incorrect and misleading pre-sentence report is impossible to change. I tried 3 times to correct incorrect info. When I challenged it in court I was ignored.