Prisoner stabbed multiple times

A stabbing at a Waikato prison has left an inmate with a disfigured face after he was stabbed multiple times. 

Police said Spring Hill Corrections Facility staff became aware an inmate had been injured and required medical treatment about 8pm yesterday.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Whitehead said the inmate was treated for several injuries that appeared to have been inflicted with a sharp weapon.

 ''A number of these are to his face. Although disfiguring these injuries are not life threatening,'' Whitehead said.

He said at the time of the assault, the victim was amongst a group of prisoners who had free access to their cells and a common exercise area.

The inmate was transferred by ambulance to Waikato Hospital for treatment, where he is still in hospital under guard by Corrections staff. He is in a stable condition and is expected to be released from hospital and returned to prison tomorrow, Whitehead said.

''A team of police investigators are currently at Spring Hill Corrections Facility. They are being assisted by Corrections staff and police and ESR [Institute of Environmental Science and Research] forensic specialists'', Whitehead said.

Spring Hill Corrections facility manager Chris Lightbown told Waikato Times in a statement the prisoner was injured in an altercation and officers responded and immediately contained the incident.

Lightbown said the Department has a zero tolerance policy toward prisoner assaults on staff and other prisoners. 

''No assault is acceptable, however, it is an unfortunate reality that from time to time this will occur.

''We manage some of New Zealand's most difficult and challenging citizens. Therefore, violence is always a risk as many offenders resort to violent behaviour as a means of resolving issues and of expressing themselves. Understanding and managing this risk is a challenge common to all correctional jurisdictions.''

Spring Hill was the scene of a large riot in June last year, which caused millions of dollars in damage.