Inmate found dead at former Serco-run Mt Eden prison named

The death has been referred to the Coroner and will also be subject to a review by the Corrections Inspectorate.
JOHN SELKIRK/FAIRFAX NZ

The death has been referred to the Coroner and will also be subject to a review by the Corrections Inspectorate.

An inmate found dead at Auckland's Mt Eden prison after an apparent suicide  was Liberty Charles Baker, 63, Corrections confirmed on Friday.

The death happened on Thursday and has been referred to the Coroner and will also be subject to a review by the Corrections Inspectorate.

"Corrections can confirm that a prisoner at Mount Eden Corrections Facility died... of apparent suicide,"  confirmed Northern Regional Commissioner Jeanette Burns. 

Baker was reportedly due to be sentenced in the High Court at Whangarei this week after pleading guilty to nearly 80 charges including rape, sexual violation, assault, kidnapping, threatening to kill and grievous bodily harm.

Corrections would not comment further on the incident.

A St John ambulance spokesman confirmed they attended the incident at the prison but wouldn't give any details.

Police would not comment either.

The death comes after the government announced it was taking over the management of the prison last month from private company Serco, following allegations of prisoner mistreatment at the facility under Serco.

Serco staff remained on site but a management team was put in place to oversee the day to day running of the facility.

Mt Eden Prison faced a series of serious allegations of "fight clubs", where inmates were claimed to have been thrown off balconies in a practice known as "dropping", and physically assaulted. 

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Offenders often suffer from "extremely poor" mental health when they arrived in prison, said Burns.

"The care they receive in prison often far exceeds what they were accessing in the community."

Burns said Corrections staff had saved the lives of approximately 100 prisoners over the last five years.

"These prisoners were involved in self harm incidents where the individual would have been unlikely to survive without staff intervention."

Unnatural deaths in custody at all NZ prisons:

2014/15           8

2013/14           3

2012/13           3

2011/12           5

2010/11           12

Unnatural Deaths include suicide, homicide, death by drug overdose, and death by accident, and where there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the event was most likely not due to natural causes.

 - Stuff

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