Prison Transfers Update

November 21, 2022


The Department of Corrections have announced more plans to transfer people to other prisons around the country. Meanwhile, they are still continuing to run a lengthy recruitment campaign, people in prison do not have full access to their human rights including access to visitation from whānau, friends and lawyers, and limited or no access to rehabilitative or support programmes.  

What we know

Timeline of transfers




What Corrections are offering impacted people:

What we would like to see happen?

Corrections staff shortages indicate to us an opportunity for them and other key decision makers e.g. the Courts/Parole Board to work together to assess who of our current prison population should/could be released immediately. These actions should be taken to ameliorate the current staffing issues they are experiencing, reduce our prison population, and will help staff to prisoner ratios so that face-to-face visitation can be reinstated fully. The following groups of people are who the Department of Corrections ought to be looking to release ASAP are:

The reason we have identified the following groups of people as eligible for release are based on the fact that they fit into one or more of the following three categories.

  1. They pose no immediate risk to the public.
  2. They have a mental illness or cognitive disorder that would be better treated in some other type of facility (AoD rehab centre, clean and sober housing, mental health facility, Alcohol or Other Drug Treatment Court (AODTC)), referral to an area of counselling/therapy relevant specifically to their type of trauma or disorder, or in the care of their whānau/community with their unique support systems.
  3. They have yet to be found guilty/convicted of a crime.

If the Department of Corrections were to begin releasing people belonging to the groups listed above, the prison population would decrease significantly. This would allow those individuals who at this point in time have no choice but to remain in prison, to be able to have face-to-face visits with their whānau and loved ones.

What about Oranga Tamariki?

We are currently confirming what their current policies are in regards to COVID-19 after hearing there is a possibility that some (or all?) Youth Justice facilities have confirmed that their COVID restriction policy will stay imposed on them for another year or two. This means that youth can be kept in their cells for extended and prolonged periods of time with limited “out of cell” time which will negatively impact their mental wellbeing.

We have actioned an OIA and Written questions regarding Youth Justice/Care and Protection facilities 

How can you help?

  1. Continue to apply pressure to the Government and Ministers responsible for Corrections and human rights.
  2. Support our call to action for the release of identified groups by sharing this update or our Instagram post
  3. Let us know if you are hearing from impacted whānau, friends or lawyers. We welcome anyone who wants to use our platform to raise their voice by sharing their experiences.