Christchurch Men’s Prison director, Jo Harrex and acting chief executive, Rachel Leota at the opening

New prison unit

by Mike Isle

A new management unit at Christchurch Men’s Prison will provide a safer, more secure environment for staff and prisoners, says the prison’s acting chief executive Rachel Leota.

Mrs Leota officially opened the unit in a ceremony recently where she thanked staff involved in the project and for their ongoing work at the prison.

Named Miro, the modern, purpose-built unit will be able to accommodate up to 20 prisoners at any one time.

“The unit will be an important tool in upholding the safety and security of the prison, allowing prisoners to be temporarily moved here while segregated for their own safety or the safety of others,” said prison director Jo Harrex.

“The unit will also house prisoners subject to directed protective custody due to risk from others.”

“Many of the people we manage have complex needs and can be dangerous or extremely violent.

“We have a duty of care to provide safe conditions for staff and prisoners, and enhanced monitoring and security in this unit will help us achieve this. Safety and security features include camera surveillance and strengthened walls, windows and doors.

The unit includes a health clinic, classroom and day room alongside interview and other rooms.

Programme spaces are designed to allow prison tutors to continue their programmes with offenders, either face to face or from behind secure screening.  

The unit also has its own dedicated health area to allow nursing staff to safely dispense medications and assess prisoner medical needs from within the unit, reducing the number of prisoner and staff movements across the prison.  

“We are looking forward to the benefits the space will offer in terms of improved safety and security for
staff and prisoners, and increased opportunities for men in the unit to develop tools for living more successfully within the mainstream prison environment.”