Corrections Minister Louise Upston today opened a new residential facility at Christchurch Men’s Prison that will accommodate high-risk sexual or violent offenders subject to Public Protection Orders.
“The Matawhāiti Residence is designed to balance public safety with the appropriate management and rehabilitation of its residents. It is intended to better protect the community, rather than act as a punishment for the residents,” Ms Upston says.
A Public Protection Order (PPO) is a court order that allows the detention of very high-risk individuals at a secure facility within prison precincts. These civil detention orders may be put in place for individuals who have served a finite prison sentence but still pose a very high risk of imminent and serious sexual or violent offending and cannot be safely managed in the community.
“Residents are on a civil detention order and are not prisoners. While they have completed their term of imprisonment, psychologists and the courts have determined that a small number of individuals still pose a risk of reoffending.
“The facility allows residents as much autonomy and quality of life as possible while ensuring their safety and the orderly running of the facility. Residents also have personalised management programmes with goals that will contribute towards their eventual release,” Ms Upston says.
Matawhāiti is a secure facility. Residents will be accommodated in blocks of two self-contained units. Two blocks have so far been built, offering six residential units. One has been designed to accommodate a person with physical disabilities. Provision has been made for a further six blocks and, once completed, will accommodate up to 24 residents.