Rolleston Prison’s construction yard

Seal of approval

by Mike Isle

The Office of the Inspectorate has released inspection reports for the three Christchurch prisons — Christchurch Men’s, Christchurch Women’s and Rolleston.

The government department said inspections provide a ‘window into prisons’, giving early warning of emerging risks and challenges, and highlighting areas of innovation and good practice.

The inspections found that all three prisons provided a safe and healthy environment where prisoners’ needs were met. Prisoners had access to a range of activities to keep them engaged, including rehabilitation programmes, work experience and education programmes.

At Christchurch Men’s Prison, many prisoners said they felt safe in their units, despite incidents of violence being recorded. Staff showed good active management when dealing with prisoners. Parts of some units were in a poor state of repair.

At the time of the inspection, Christchurch Women’s Prison was at capacity, with all beds full. The prison was short-staffed and under pressure in some areas. Despite this, there was little evidence of violence and gang activity, access to contraband was low and there was relatively little intimidation.

The inspection found that Rolleston Prison’s units and cells were warm, clean, free from graffiti and well maintained. There was little gang influence or violence, but some bullying and stand overs were reported.

The prison had a construction yard and nursery for training and employment.

The inspections took place between May and July 2018.