Friday, October 15, 2004

Existing processes

Critics of compensation payouts to prisoners have argued that they should only be allowed access to the courts once they have exhausted existing processes. Unfortunately, those existing processes don't seem to work. A report by the ombudsman has revealed that Corrections were uninterested even in complaints of serious assaults by guards on inmates, and uninterested in taking simple steps to prevent them:

In his annual report to Parliament, John Belgrave says prisons were not dealing promptly with assault allegations against staff, and had yet to install surveillance cameras in "volatile units", where many incidents were claimed to happen.

In a statement, Mr Belgrave said Corrections had been told in 1999, 2002 and last year that there were concerns about delays in investigating assault claims, but had failed to act. The department had also been asked in 2002 and last year to install video cameras in trouble spots to allow incidents to be monitored.

(I guess Garth George won't be complaining about their loss of "traditional values" then...)

Under these circumstances, the demand that prisoners with complaints exhaust existing processes is nothing more than a cruel joke designed to deny them any form of justice or redress. But then was there even any pretence to the contrary...?