Stuff interviews a corrections officer about life working in a prison:
Jails across the country are short hundreds of frontline staff, despite burgeoning prisoner numbers – and several staff have contacted Stuff claiming they’re being put in harm’s way. Corrections denies the prison system is short-staffed.
“The current prison situation with the muster crisis can’t go on,” said a female Corrections officer who contacted Stuff. “It’s a pressure cooker right now. It’s going to get to a point where it will blow.
Yet the Government won’t act. Their response is to just catch and release.
She said a 600-bed prison at Waikeria announced by the Government for completion by 2022, would not put a dent in the country’s prison muster.
“I see the types of people we house. I handle the rapists. The murderers. The paedophiles. I handle other people’s nightmares.
“Where else are we meant to house these people? Those that oppose prisons, well, where are we supposed to put these offenders? The guys that try to spit on you when you walk past; the guys that openly tell you they will re-offend once they are out.”
They’re just misunderstood I am sure.
The impending closure of Waikeria’s high-security unit would mean the new 600-bed prison would simply be replacing beds, she said. The prison system would only be about 100 beds better off.
“The original [National Government-proposed] 1500-bed unit is what is required,” she said. “It’s not a political thing. It’s not a game. It’s a major safety concern.
To me it is simple. You have enough prison beds to house all the prisoners.