Heartbreak before prison transfers

Funding of roles:

A former prisoner said moving the women out of Arohata prison would cause additional suffering and would be a breach of the prison service’s own policies for Maori and female prisoners.

A former prisoner said moving the women out of Arohata prison would cause additional suffering and would be a breach of the prison service’s own policies for Maori and female prisoners.

Many of the prison’s approximately 100 inmates are being sent to Christchurch and Auckland so that staff can be transferred to cover shortages at Rimutaka Men’s Prison.

University of Victoria sociologist and criminologist Awatea Mita said that during her own incarceration, a woman was moved from Wellington and placed in her cell.

“She had been separated from her daughter – she was crying all night, at different times of the day, she was holding her daughter’s picture and was heartbroken and I think we can all relate to that,” she said.

Ms Mita says the cost of traveling to Christchurch for prison visits would be out of reach for many Lower North Island whanau, increasing women’s isolation and prospects for rehabilitation.

There is also a problem with the transfer of wahine to Auckland while the problems with the punitive culture of this prison have still not been resolved.


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