Inmates shifted from Serco after home brew, assault incident

Kohuora was opened a year ago. Some of its residents are now receiving Government hospitality at Paremoremo.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Kohuora was opened a year ago. Some of its residents are now receiving Government hospitality at Paremoremo.

Inmates accused of being drunk on home brew and assaulting prison guards at Wiri have been moved from the Serco jail to the state-run prison in Paremoremo.

The incident at Kohuora, Auckland South Corrections Facility, on April 30 sparked a clampdown in a wing holding 68 people.

Some inmates who weren't involved in the attack complained of being locked in their cells for as long as 25 hours at a time.

Judith Collins, Corrections Minsiter, says all maximum security male prisoners are moved to Paremoremo.
JAMES IRELAND/FAIRFAX NZ

Judith Collins, Corrections Minsiter, says all maximum security male prisoners are moved to Paremoremo.

Asked why the state now had to look after inmates whose care was entrusted to Serco, Corrections Minister Judith Collins said Kohuora operated under the same classification rules as all other prisons.

READ MORE: 
Crackdown at new Auckland jail wing after prison staff allegedly assaulted

"As happens at all sites, if an incident happens, an event-based reclassification will be carried out on the prisoner. If this results in a reclassification to maximum security, then that prisoner is moved to Auckland Prison."

Labour corrections spokesman Kelvin Davis says ongoing debacles have undermined public faith in Serco jails.

Labour corrections spokesman Kelvin Davis says ongoing debacles have undermined public faith in Serco jails.

Collins said Corrections managed the prison muster across the entire prison estate, including Kohuora.

Labour corrections spokesman Kelvin Davis said the alleged home brew-fuelled assault and its aftermath made a "mockery" of the system.

"Serco needs to deal with it, but because they say they all work together, it just enables them to transfer all the easy guys into Serco, and that boost's Serco's stats.

"If they're so innovative and so good, they should be putting up their hands and saying 'we're going to take all the hardest guys.'"

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Davis said Serco should be more transparent about how incidents such as last weekend's happened.

The company did not say how the home brew was made, or how it evaded detection.

But Serco said its staff performed well in challenging prisoner behaviour, finding the contraband and taking swift action to remove it from inmates.

"As in any facility, prisoners will attempt to smuggle or create contraband such as home brew and we have daily practices in place to stop them."

A company spokesperson said staff frequently checked bins and bags, and recent changes meant inmates could not use these as containers for fermenting booze.

Serco said the assault happened when staff were carrying out searches at the jail.

An inmate's partner said on Thursday the situation at Kohuora had returned to normal, after last week's clampdown in which it was claimed some prisoners were locked up for as long as 25 hours.

She said the normalisation was due to media exposure of the assault and lockdown.

A few prisoners threatened to go on hunger strike before the controlled regime ended last Friday.

 - Stuff

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