Report criticises prison management
Thu, 14 Feb 2008 12:00a.m.
An independent investigation into allegations of corruption at Rimutaka prison has criticised those who manage the jail.
But it also says there is no evidence of systemic corruption.
The corrections boss is pleased with the outcome, but one of the original whistle blowers is calling it a whitewash.
Fionnuala Kelly was the only whistleblower who agreed to be interviewed as part of an investigation into alleged corruption at Rimutaka prison.
It has cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars so far and has taken more than a year to complete.
The findings - very little could be substantiated – were corruption is not systemic.
“This report says nothing. It says nothing new and it should have said a lot. It manages to neatly gloss over a culture which was a culture of bullying, which was a culture of fear which was a culture of mismanagement,” Kelly says.
While the report does exonerate many of the accused staff, it also points to problems with management.
It says as a result of increases in prison muster and changes to the security of the prison.
"Instances of unacceptable management behaviour, including behaviour of a bullying nature has taken place,” the report says.
“I think there were certainly problems in the past. We have put a number of things in place to help overcome that and I believe the current management and supervisory levels are appropriate,” says Barry Matthew, Corrections head.
The investigation led to the dismissal of 11 staff at Rimutaka prison, and also initiated numerous employment investigations - one of which resulted in Wellington regional prison boss, Dave East being stood down.
That was almost a year ago - today he remains on leave and full pay as investigations continue.
The length of time taken to conduct employment investigations was another criticism made in the report.
Prison officers have welcomed the report.
The report did conclude that some corrupt activity, like smuggling in cell phones or drugs, had occurred.
At least two former workers at Rimutaka now face criminal charges as a result.
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