27 Jul 2011

Hotene inquest told of fewer prison muster checks

8:38 pm on 27 July 2011

An inquest into the death of notorious criminal Taffy Hotene has heard that prisons are now doing fewer face-to-name muster checks on inmates.

Hotene died in custody at Whanganui Prison in November 2009, from injuries believed to be self-inflicted.

He was serving at least 18 years without parole for murdering Auckland journalist Kylie Jones in 2000 and preventive detention for raping her. Hotene attacked Ms Jones just weeks after serving eight years in jail for attacking three women in Whanganui.

An inquest into Hotene's death heard of phone calls giving conflicting information that the prisoner was lost, found and then lost again.

Whanganui Prison manager, Hati Kaiwai, has accepted that the confusion was worsened by paperwork about Hotene's job in a concrete factory that was inappropriately filled out.

He says face-to-name muster checks of prisoners were done hourly until April, but now only happen at unlock, once randomly during the day and then at lock-up.

He says the change allows guards to be more fully engaged with prisoners and not so preoccupied with locating them.