Kelvin Davis, Minister of Corrections, says he agrees with Amnesty NZ’s comments that human rights need to be upheld, even during these exceptionally difficult times.
He says: ‘I’ve raised this with my officials as they work to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into prisons.
‘I have received assurances that Corrections continues to ensure that prisoners receive their minimum entitlements under the Corrections Act 2004 such as access to legal representation, physical exercise, and telephone calls.
‘No prisons are routinely using extended lockdown’
‘I’ve also received assurances that while some prisons are operating shorter unlock periods in some units in order to manage physical distancing, no prisons are routinely using extended lockdown hours as described by Amnesty NZ.
‘I strongly encourage any prisoner who has concerns that they may have been denied their minimum entitlements to talk to staff about this.
‘The independent Office of the Inspectorate continues to be available to receive prisoner complaints.
‘And Corrections has been working closely with the Office of the Ombudsman to ensure they can continue to perform their important oversight functions in these difficult circumstances.