Monday, March 22, 2021

Now prosecute them

When Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis was first confronted with Corrections' abuse and torture of Mihi Bassett, he tried to deny the court ruling and undermine the judiciary. Now, he's been forced to admit and personally apologise for it:

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has directed the Department of Corrections to conduct an urgent overhaul and review of women's prisons.

The minister has written to written to Corrections chief executive Jeremy Lightfoot demanding an urgent overhaul of the maximum security classification for women and development of management plans for women, and a review of all women's prisons.

Corrections confirmed its officials had met with three women to acknowledge and apologise for the way they were managed at Auckland Women's Prison, following preliminary findings of an investigation by the independent Corrections Inspectorate.

Davis, who also apologised to the women, said he wanted and expected better from Corrections.

If he wants better, here's an obvious solution: prosecute and sack those responsible for Bassett's treatment. Because some of what was done by corrections officers appears to be criminal: offences of ill-treatment or neglect of child or vulnerable adult, assault with a weapon, and arguably torture. The people responsible need to be held to account. And if they're not, its clear that the New Zealand government condones this sort of cruelty and abuse in its prisons.