A report released by the Ombudsman’s Office has confirmed why regular monitoring of places of detention is so valuable, says the Human Rights Commission.
The OPCAT report, Report on an unannounced inspection of Spring Hill Corrections Facility Under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989, is part of the Chief Ombudsman’s commitment to publish reports from an intensified monitoring programme.
The report outlines concerns with the challenges that newly introduced remand prisoners, increases in prisoner populations and double bunking in one-prisoner cells present. It also outlined a range of recommendations for improvements.
Chief Commissioner David Rutherford says the report has highlighted the need for regular monitoring of these sorts of facilities to ensure New Zealand’s places of detention are meeting international standards.
“As regular monitoring under OPCAT has shown, there is a need for our detention facilities to continue to improve their practices. The best way this can be done is through regular checks and by meeting recommendations made by inspection bodies.
"We commend the Chief Ombudsman for releasing this new report, which is consistent with a recommendation made in international expert Dr Sharon Shalev's report, Thinking outside the box? A review of Seclusion and Restraint practices in New Zealand, released by the Commission earlier this year.
“It important that we have a detention system that is transparent and accountable when it comes to how they treat some of our society’s most vulnerable. We are pleased that the Office of the Ombudsman now has the capacity to deliver these important reports on a more regular basis,” Mr Rutherford says.