29 Jun 2012

Prison systems reviewed following inmate's death

12:51 pm on 29 June 2012

The Corrections Department says systems have already been reviewed following the death of an inmate last year.

Her comments follow a Coroner's recommendations made following the suicide of a 26-year-old man while on remand in a low security unit at Christchurch Men's Prison.

Hurikino Luke, 26, hanged himself at night with a sheet tied around an exposed pipe in his cell in January 2011.

Coroner Richard McElrae said inmates needed to be more carefully assessed and monitored.

He said the type of exposed piping in the cell should not be used in future prisons.

The Department of Corrections is reviewing the findings and says it has already introduced welfare monitoring checks for vulnerable prisoners.

Acting General Manager of Prison Services Jeanette Burns says a mental health screening tool has been introduced which means every prisoner is now assessed within 24 hours.

However a lawyer for the Howard League for Penal Reform, Nigel Hampton, is sceptical all the recommendations will be adopted.

He says it took the department 10 years to implement the findings of a coroner's report which called for the removal of grills in prison doors which had been used in four suicides over a ten year period.