3 May 2011

Hearing opens on Wiri prison

4:32 am on 3 May 2011

The Environmental Protection Authority has begun a series of hearings on whether a new men's prison should be built in the South Auckland suburb of Wiri.

The 1060-bed facility would house low- to high-security inmates, and consist of both secure and non-secure units.

The Corrections Department outlined its case in favour of the prison during Monday's hearing, saying the land is already designated for a correctional facility, albeit a women's one.

Of the 58 submitters 43 oppose the prison. They include residents groups, schools, the local board and Auckland Council.

Among their concerns are that the area is already home to a women's and a youth prison, as well as numerous halfway houses.

They say a third jail will stigmatise the area and cause house prices to drop by up to 40%.

The hearings are set down for three weeks.