Cabinet went against their own Minister on prisons

David Bennett released:

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis advised Cabinet to adopt the previous Government’s plan to build 1500 beds at Waikeria Prison because it was ‘the only sensible plan’, but his colleagues ignored his advice, National’s Corrections spokesperson David Bennett says. …

“In a December 2017 paper also released yesterday, Mr Davis advised Cabinet that in recognition of the forecast shortfall, maintaining National’s plan was the ‘only sensible plan of action’ and recommended the Government implement the plan we had in place.

“But his colleagues ignored him and just six months later the Government recklessly went ahead with its dangerous plan to downsize the Waikeria Prison build by 1000 beds.

Incredible. They are deliberately building too few beds in prisons, so that they have to let dangerous prisoners out early on the grounds they prisons are overcrowded!

Also Stuff reports:

Double bunking in cells could increase the risk of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and reduce rehabilitation opportunities at Waikeria Prison, a cabinet paper says.

Room sharing badly impacts inmates’ health, reduces rehabilitation opportunities, moves prisoners away from normalisation and can mean upping staff ratios, according to a paper Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis presented to cabinet before the Waikeria Prison plan was signed off. 

So they went for the option that increases assaults and reduces rehabilitation opportunities.

The guidelines for the minimum size of a two-person cell is 10sqm of living space, plus sanitary annex. The new cells, however, will be 9sqm. 

And they are going under the minimum recommended size.

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