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The report into Mt Eden prison: key facts

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/10/2016

Corrections' Chief Inspector has just released a long-await and highly-critical report into "fight clubs" and other issues at privately-run Mount Eden Corrections Facility. So what does it say and why was it necessary?


* In July 2015 footage came out of organised fighting at Mount Eden prison - which had been run by private company Serco since 2011

* A month later, a full investigation into the allegations was ordered

* Serco has since paid Corrections $8 million after the government had to "step in" and take over the prison


* "Fight clubs" were sometimes weekly and prisoners said they had to take part or be beaten by gangs

* Serco sometimes reported serious assaults as accidents or not at all

* Some prisoners were denied calls to lawyers for up to five weeks and medical assessments weren't carried out properly

* Staff were giving inmates cellphones and there was a lack of checks for contraband

* There was no evidence of "dropping" - the practice of pushing inmates off balconies

* Available staff numbers were overstated and sometimes units had no guards for periods of more than two hours - and sometimes the guards were playing table tennis or pool instead of supervising

* Food storage was unsanitary


* 21 recommendations have been made

* They include urgent changes to staffing and a whole raft of procedures about how prisoners are looked after and incidents reported

* Serco was given the report in January and says it accepts all the changes


* A second part of the report looked into eight prisons run by the Corrections Department

* Eight recommendations were made for the prisons, including making incident reporting more user friendly, improving access to exercise equipment, improving tracking of gangs. Four recommendations were redacted

* No evidence of fight clubs was found and supervision was considered good

* Although cellphones were also found on inmates at these prisons, the systems for finding them were deemed effective

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