Watchtower prisoner gives up, one remains
Sun, 24 Jun 2012 8:12a.m.
Early this afternoon, one of two protesting prisoners climbed down the watchtower, brandishing a metal pole as a makeshift weapon. He proceeded to run along below the tower and has now given himself up, according to prison staff.
Guards earlier were stationed on a roof across from the seized, disused watchtower where the two prisoners were protesting at a maximum security prison north of Auckland.
After the shuffle, the other inmate, a serial escapee known as Aaron "Houdini" Forden, also jumped down the tower, but has now returned.
The first inmate is now being assessed by mental health staff and will be given a meal and a shower. Forden is expected to come down tonight or tomorrow morning. Both prisoners will receive two weeks of solitary confinement thanks to the incident.
The two prisoners had been holed up in the disused watchtower at Paremoremo Prison for the past two nights.
The prisoners scaled the tower on Friday about 10:30am.
After the movement this afternoon, prison guards were on high alert on the roof of an adjacent building. It is believed the pair may have been trying to fetch water before the prisoner gave himself up.
The two have garnered little support, not only from their bosses but fellow prisoners as well, who have also been on lockdown because of the incident.
Requests by the men to bring in prisoners’ advocate Peter Williams were denied by prison officials.
Yesterday afternoon the prisoners used toothpaste on a window to communicate with the media.
“Peaceful protest against Department [of Corrections]” and “contact Peter Williams QC” were written as messages by the pair of inmates.
Mr Williams said he had not campaigned for either of the men but would be happy to mediate should he be allowed by the Department of Corrections.
Corrections’ general manager of Prison Services Jeanette Burns rejected the offer, telling Fairfax Media that the men “will be given the ability to call a lawyer once they come down from the tower. Outside assistance is not required at this point".
Fellow inmates were also unmoved by the protest, shouting comments such as “jump”.
Corrections are currently waiting out "Houdini" and are confident the prisoner will give up.
“They can’t go anywhere. The only option they have is to come down.”
Staff are hoping that hunger and cold will bring the last man back down. The only provisions that the men had were a blanket, one roll of toilet paper and some toothpaste.
The men spent their time fashioning improvised, but deadly, weapons.
Corrections Association president Bevan Hanlon said that staff are not being sent up to get the last inmate, as it could put the officers’ safety at great risk.
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24/06/2012 3:03:44 p.m.
You have two prisoners who committed a crime, put the public at risk, and they have a lawyer wanting to mediate for them? You have corrections staff who have been called in, instead of spending their time with their families, they're watching a pair of silly people, wanting their rights to be heard. What about the rights of the public (wanting to be safe). what about the rights of the prison staff (wanting to earn money to put food on the table, without being at risk of getting killed). These guys want their cake and eat it at the same time (commit crime, and still demand rights ) You have families out in the public trying to make ends meet, you have victims, still trying to get over the trauma that people like these two stupid men had put them through.
We need to make up our minds - support prisons in keeping these criminal behind bars, or let them run wild in and out of prison? If the lawyer wants to mediate - why not do something more constructive, and mediate for the innocents....yes thats us - the public
24/06/2012 2:27:50 p.m.
Makes one wonder,if the tower is disused, why is it still standing??? Get the prisoners to do something useful by demolishing the darn thing.
24/06/2012 1:41:58 p.m.
so they are protesting about conditions and human rights. they are in there for a reason, they gave up there rights wen they committed there crimes. prisoners shouldn't be aloud any of these luxury's they have. they are lucky they are getting any food and they shouldn't be aloud visitors or access to the outside world.
24/06/2012 12:04:21 p.m.
Corrections claim that they have "skilled negotiators" on site. They can't be that good if the prisoners are still refusing to come down and asking for Peter Williams QC.
24/06/2012 11:23:22 a.m.
Annalise Burin wrote:
It isn't just the maximum security part of the prison in lock-down, it is the entire prison. That means that every man has been in a cell since Friday morning. Unable to make phone calls or receive visits, or resume normal activities. If corrections think this is the safest course of action, have they not considered the repercussions of fully locking up 1000 men indefinitely? Ironically the conditions these men are protesting about are much worsened by their actions, they will not be well liked after this.
24/06/2012 9:36:51 a.m.
i am sure Peter Williams QC would be more than happy to do it, for an extortionate fee that is
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