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The Corrections Inspectorate is to be strengthened with a package of measures designed to increase transparency and provide assurance on the running of our prisons, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.

“The Corrections Inspectorate is a critical part of the oversight of the Corrections system. This is a positive move that will improve public understanding and confidence in Corrections.”

The changes have been developed in consultation with the State Services Commission, and Corrections is working to implement them within the next six months.

Changes include the introduction of regular proactive reviews of all prisons and a new prisons inspection team that will work within but separately to the general Corrections Inspectorate. Reports by the prison inspectors will be provided to the Minister of Corrections and summaries of the reports will be released publicly.

Other changes include:

An enhanced Chief Inspector role which includes more wide-ranging powers and functions A boost in the number of Inspectorate staff, including eight new inspectors.

“These changes will provide greater assurance for me, the Corrections’ chief executive and his leadership team, and the public about the safe, secure and humane treatment of prisoners, operational issues and best practice,” Ms Upston says.

“The reviews will also identify emerging risks so that these can be dealt with swiftly.”

The new prison inspection framework will be based on international best practice. Under this framework prisons will be assessed on whether prisoners are safely held, treated with respect, engaged in meaningful rehabilitation and prepared for community reintegration.

The first inspection under the new framework will take place this month at Manawatu Prison.

Corrections is advertising to fill the role of the new Chief Inspector, who will oversee the new programme of inspections, along with the traditional work of investigating complaints and undertaking reviews.

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