12 Jun 2012

Prison inspector says measured restraint used on inmate

1:52 pm on 12 June 2012

An Inspector of Corrections has told an inquest that the response by prison officers in restraining an inmate who then died was measured.

Nicholas Harris, 36, died from asphyxia in his cell at Waikeria Prison in January last year.

Six prison officers were sent to restrain Harris after they believed he was trying to hang himself.

The prisoner's family is questioning the force used to restrain him.

Prison inspector Nuia Aumua says the response was determined by his size and strength.

Hamilton Coroners Court was told that officers straddled his back and others held his feet and arms.

It was during this, with Harris lying face down, that he stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated.

Mr Aumua says Harris was highly agitated and aggressive and this determined the response by prison authorities.