Auckland South Corrections Facility ( ASCF ) Wiri Prison. Photo / Supplied
Prisoners allegedly drunk on homebrew attacked staff at the Serco-run Wiri prison on Saturday, and a wing has been in lockdown ever since.
The incident is the latest in a number of high profile incidents involving Serco, including an $8 million pay out to Corrections after the government had to step in to manage the Mt Eden facility.
Serco today confirmed information supplied to the Herald from a source within the Auckland South Corrections Facility on Kiwi
Tamaki Drive, Wiri.
The source, who wished not to be identified in case it compromised prisoners inside the facility, said an attack on guards took place at the weekend by some prisoners “high on homebrew” and that others not involved in the attack have been in lockdown ever since.
“Some prisoners attacked the guards and so they locked the place down of course. They have since taken the culprits out of wherever it happened, but the people left behind are still getting locked up and let out for only an hour and locked up for 23 hours,” the source said.
A Serco New Zealand
spokeswoman today confirmed the information.The source said prisoners were now on a hunger strike in protest of their treatment.
“There is currently a controlled regime in a single wing accommodating 68 prisoners,” said the spokeswoman. “The measure was temporarily imposed on Monday…for safety and security reasons, and following a review the regime will return to normal tomorrow.
“The regime was applied after two prisoners allegedly assaulted members of staff on the wing on Saturday. The incident was reported to police.
“The prisoners were relocated and will be subject to the internal disciplinary process. Contraband “homebrew” was also discovered in the wing.”
The source said that the prisoners were being locked up for up to 25 hours, and even though the prisoners were there “for a reason” they still deserved fair treatment within the jail.
“But the 23 hours can actually be in 25 hour or more lots, say if they are let out at 9am until 10am one day but not let out until 11am or later the next day.
“They are still entitled to certain things. If they have got the culprits why can’t it go back to normal?”
The prison spokeswoman said under the “controlled regime” prisoners were unlocked for less time than they would be normally, but prisoners can still attend visits, work, education, sports and fitness activities.
“The safety, security and wellbeing of staff and prisoners is our first priority. Assaults are never acceptable and our staff must be able to observe and challenge prisoners who are acting to undermine the good order of the prison.”
The Corrections Minister, Judith Collins, and Labour’s Corrections Spokesman, Kelvin Davis, have been approached for comment and their responses will be added to this story when received.
The incident is the latest in a number of high profile incidents involving Serco, an international outsourcing group, and its operation of New Zealand prisons.
A judicial review into reports of Serco’s management of the Mt Eden Correctional Facility is currently underway after its $300 million, 10-year contract with Corrections was terminated following reports surfaced on social media of organised fights and contraband.
Serco took over the management of the Mt Eden remand prison in 2011 and has now agreed to pay $8 million to cover the costs associated with the contract ending.