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Monitoring Places of Detention report released

Graphic: External shot of prison facility, New Zealand

The annual report outlines activities under OPCAT carried out by New Zealand's multi-member National Preventive Mechanism

The 2016 Monitoring Places of Detention report, tabled in the Parliament, outlines the issues facing people in places of detention across New Zealand and details the work underway to address them.

The annual report outlines activities under the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) carried out by the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs): the Independent Policy Conduct Authority, the Office of the Children's Commissioner, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Inspector of the Penal Service Establishments.

The report identifies a number of serious issues within New Zealand detention facilities, including high levels of unreported prisoner-on-prisoner assaults within prisons, locking of doors in mental health units that house voluntary patients and the lack of responsiveness to mokopuna Maori within CYFS residences.


Graphic: External shot of prison facility, New Zealand


Places of detention were often in the media, both in New Zealand and internationally, for problems such as fight clubs, prisoner assaults, and the use of restraints on youth at a children's detention centre.

The NPMs will continue to monitor international developments and assess how monitoring and inspections can be improved to ensure unreported and underlying issues are identified and remedied

Mental health and disability in detention continues to be a concern. Sixty to seventy percent of people in prison have either a learning disability or a mental illness.

New Zealand also has a history of under-provision of care to this patient group, resulting in sub-optimal care, injury or self-harm while in detention and, in some cases, suicides in detention.

Furthermore, the NPMs have increasing concerns about the overlap between those with both mental health issues and intellectual disability.

The NPMs will continue to raise these and other issues, and will continue to monitor the situation of those who are deprived of their liberty and are often marginalised and vulnerable.

The Human Rights Commission is the Central Preventive Mechanism responsible for coordinating the activities of the NPMs.

Date: 31 March 2017

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. External shot of prison facility, New Zealand - APF
  2. External shot of prison facility, New Zealand - APF