Rape allegation at Serco prison

Police are investigating allegations of rape at the Serco-run prison in Wiri.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Police are investigating allegations of rape at the Serco-run prison in Wiri.

A prisoner who was allegedly sexually assaulted at a south Auckland prison is transgender, according to an activist group.

No Pride in Prisons  on Saturday said it had been in contact with the inmate's family.

"She was taken out of protective segregation on Wednesday and moved back into the general population, where she was assaulted by seven men and then raped," No Pride In Prisons spokeswoman Emilie Rakete said.

The incident was alleged to have happened early on Friday morning and police are now investigating.

Agender New Zealand spokeswoman Lynda Whitehead said the inmate should have been segregated.

"If people get this into their heads, that we are taking about a transgender woman and not a man, would you put a woman into a cell with a bloke?"

The Department of Corrections said the complaint was referred to the police immediately. 

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Northern regional commissioner Jeanette Burns said the prisoner was seen by health services staff and moved to the health unit. "Staff continue to ensure that he is safe. All prisoners have the right to be safe in custody."

Burns said staff acted immediately to support the prisoner after the inmate  disclosed what had happened.

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The department will be conducting a separate review of the incident by the Chief Custodial Officer.

She said the contract with SecureFutures set out clearly that there was a zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour, including sexual assaults.

The incident is the latest in a string of controversial reports calling into question Serco's handling of its prisons.

The Wiri prison opened in May. There have also been allegations of prisoners were being locked down for long periods of the day and serious, unreported beatings happening in the prison.

Investigations into the Serco-run Mt Eden Correctional Facility are also under way after reports of prisoner fight clubs.

 - Stuff

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