Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

The Department of Corrections has called in the police over a prison pamphlet expressing support for a destructive riot at Waikeria Prison, concerned the material might incite another riot.
Minister for Corrections Kelvin Davis appeared eager to publicise the pamphlet on Tuesday, saying it quoted Te Pti Mori co-leader Rawiri Waititi and was a display of his irresponsible behaviour.
Davis and Corrections have both faced increasing pressure from both sides of the House this week over the aftermath of the Waikeria Prison riot, in which 17 men burnt down a portion of the prison in a six-day stand-off, and over the treatment of inmates at Auckland Womens Prison.
The February pamphlet from abolitionist group People Against Prisons Aotearoa (Papa) which denies it advocates for riots encourages persistent, peaceful protest action such as striking from prison work, before describing the extreme radical action taken at Waikeria Prison as successful.
Prisoners on the roof of a unit at Waikeria Prison following riots during a six day stand-off over the New Year period, ending Janurary 3.
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You can make your own mind up about their actions. Read their words: Everything they say about prisons is right, the pamphlet reads.
They were burning the unit down to take a stand for future generations … It might seem extreme that the Waikeria uprising protestors gave yup on the complaints system and torched the unit instead. But they succeed where everyone else failed.
Waititi was quoted in the pamphlet as saying: When justice becomes law, defiance becomes duty.
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says a pamphlet distributed among prisoners had been referred to the police.
In the House on Tuesday afternoon, Labour appeared keen to reveal the concern surrounding the pamphlet and use it as political fodder.
Labour MP Ginny Andersen asked a supplementary question of Davis while he was being questioned by Te Pti Mori: Is the Minister aware of any publications inciting riots being distributed to prisoners?
Yes. A publication encouraging prisoners to riot, quoting a member of the Mori Party, have been distributed, he said in the House,
I said from the beginning that politicians involving themselves in some corrections matters would only serve to embolden and encourage more events that endanger the lives of prisoners and staff.
Davis, speaking to reporters afterward, said the pamphlet came to the attention of his office after a prisoner handed it to a Corrections office.
Id rather not go into the details because it has been referred to the police … The content of it is basically inciting people to disorder in prisons.
I just thought it’s really inappropriate and my concern is actually for the safety of Corrections officers … If people are being encouraged to create disorder and presence that’s entirely unacceptable.
Te Pti Mori co-lear Rawiri Waititi in the House.
Papa spokeswoman Emilie Rkete said the pamphlet absolutely does not encourage riots, and Davis was deploying a cheap tactic to distract from criticism
This is a flimsy sideshow during a week in which the systematic failures of the Department of Corrections and the personal failures of Kelvin Davis have been made extremely clear.
In a statement, a Corrections spokeswoman said safety was the top priority.
We take all potential threats to the safety and security of our people, prisoners and sites seriously, she said.
A prisoner was concerned about the content of this document and brought it to the attention of staff. We have reviewed it and subsequently referred it to police for their consideration.
We have comprehensive plans in place to mitigate and respond to a wide range of risks.
Those plans included identifying and analysing information, daily assessment and reporting of tension in every prison unit, segregation processes where deemed necessary and monitoring prisoner phone calls.
Prison Directors have been reminded of their ability to withhold prisoner mail and property under sections 43 and 108 of the Corrections Act 2004, the spokeswoman said.
Waititi on Tuesday said Davis should launch an urgent investigation into the treatment of inmates after the riot and the treatment of two prisoners at Auckland Womens Prison.
RNZ reported on Monday that Manukau District Court Judge David McNaughton had found Corrections broke its own rule and regulations multiple times at the prison when pepper spray gassing inmates Mihi Bassett and Karma Cripps, who had protested their treatment.