Suicide prompts review of prison curtains

8:49 pm on 27 January 2016

A Rimutaka Prison inmate's suicide has sparked a review of the use of curtains outside segregation cells.

Coroner Garry Evans has released his inquiry into the death of 29-year-old Dawson Te Huna in July last year.

Te Huna was in custody for driving offences and assault, and prison staff said he covered the inside of one window with a towel while the curtain on the outside of the cell was closed.

They entered to find him hanging in his cell.

The coroner referred to a report by Inspector of Corrections Pauline Rimmer, who said she was not satisfied the use of curtains over the observation window was safe.

She had been told the curtains were being used at night to block light and, if requested, during the day for privacy reasons, she said.

Corrections Department's lawyer Marcia Reddy told the coroner the department was reviewing the use of the curtains, and would keep them open during the day.