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Prison reviews to ensure humane treatment

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/03/2017

Prisons will regular proactive reviews to ensure prisoners are being treated humanely under a major strengthening of the Corrections Inspectorate.

But the government says it's not in response to a chief ombudsman's report released on Wednesday which found some prisoners had their rights under the UN torture convention violated.

Consultation has been ongoing for several months with the State Services Commission to develop new measures to increase transparency around prison operations, according to Corrections Minister Louise Upston.

Eight new prison inspectors will be appointed while the role of the chief inspector will grow to include more powers.

Teams will report to Ms Upston, with summaries of those reports to be released publicly.

"These changes will provide greater assurance for me, the Corrections' chief executive and his leadership team, and the public about safe, secure and human treatment of prisoners, operational issues and best practice," Ms Upston said.

The measures will be rolled out over six months, with Manawatu Prison to be the first inspected under the new system later this month.

The chief ombudsman's report found on Auckland prisoner was secured on a tie-down bed for 16-hours at a time, 37 nights in a row.

Another was kept in a waist restraint with his hands cuffed behind his back for three and a half months.

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