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The Corrections Minister needs to explain why prisoners are being prioritised over guards after five serious assaults at Auckland’s brand new maximum security prison, National’s Corrections spokesperson David Bennett says.

“Five prison guards have been attacked since the wing opened in October in two separate attacks. That includes a guard being punched in the head and four officers being seriously assaulted by a group of inmates.

“The new prison is designed to be safe but the Corrections Association has made it clear that the attacks come down to relaxed protocol because maximum security prisoners are being given the same rights as those in low-security prisons.

“The Association says management is more worried about prisoner rehabilitation than staff safety.

“Minister Kelvin Davis needs to make it clear to prison management that these are violent offenders and they need to be treated that way. Staff shouldn’t be put in harm’s way because this Government has a soft on crime approach.

“The Minister talked a big game in Opposition about standards in prisons and yet since he became the Minister we’ve seen a relaxation of standards, putting at risk prison officers.  

“Prison guards have the right to be safe at work. The Minister needs to ensure that they come home from work unscathed, and not the victims of crime.”

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