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From: C Lane
Dear Department of Corrections,
To whom it may concern,
Over the last year I emailed asking for updates about physical visits, with no update yet about Auckland Prison. It has now been 17.5 months since we have had physical contact with our loved ones, August 2021 being the last time we have physically seen them.
I emailed corrections last year, and got a response in June, claiming that plans were under way for visits to hopefully occur by July 2022. It is now January 2023 with no indications of when visits will be. I have emailed the prison and received a copy and pasted message.
Further to my complaint, I received a response blaming covid for the delays. Auckland Prison is 1 of 4 prisons still waiting for visits, but the rest of NZ have physical visits or have had them for a while now. Now we have staff telling inmates they don’t think visits will be on until mid year. It’s just not right as that would be almost two years since we got to see our loved ones.
I fully understand the seriousness of Covid-19 especially with family members including my partner inside having covid. But with most of us being triple vaccinated, and with us having our temperature taken 3-4 times before even entering the prison then why can visits not occur now. Whilst I understand the concerns for an outbreak, staff members are the ones who have brought covid in and families are no bigger of a risk.
As mentioned all prisons throughout NZ have opened visits, even Wiri which is Auckland has had visits for a while, so I feel covid is a poor excuse for no visits. The whole world, including NZ has moved on from Covid, there are no restrictions any where else. If we can travel the world with no issues or restrictions then why can’t we have visits.
The boys are having more and more raids, needing extra staff, and being locked up for half a day more often because of this. Surely the staff could be used to facilitate visits, or even having half day lock ups on a weekend so that visits could go ahead even if it were only fortnightly til weekly visits could go ahead. Surely there is other options that could mean visits can start sooner rather than later even with staffing issues. Auckland prison had staffing issues long before recent claims, and yet they still managed to make visits occur.
The stress and anxiety over not having any reassurance on physical visits at Auckland Prison is affecting everyone including prisoners and whanau. The harm it is doing to the mental health of families is one that is heartbreaking and challenging and unless we say something I feel like no one will understand. The pain, the tears, and the confusion that the children are suffering over not being about to visit their dad is one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
I once again apologise in advance if there is a plan in place that allows visits in the near future, but given that staff at reception have absolutely no idea when visits will be back on;
I am now requesting under the Official Information Act 1982 a response to the following questions;
- Why does Auckland prison still not have face to face visits?
- When is Auckland Prison planning to re-open visiting options?
- Has Auckland prison considered other options to allow for physical visits to occur?
- Is there a plan in place and what is that plan, on when visits will be starting again at Auckland Prison?
- Is there any truth behind the statement that visits won’t be on until mid year?
Department of Corrections
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The Ministerial Services Team
[Department of Corrections request email]
Department of Corrections
Kia ora C Rainbow,
Please see the attached correspondence from Corrections.
Department of Corrections, Ara Poutama Aotearoa
a: Mayfair House, 44 - 52 The Terrace, Wellington 6011 | Private Bag
1206, Wellington 6140 |
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