26 Mar 2013

Jails in Hawke's Bay, Northland, Otago ranked worst

4:16 pm on 26 March 2013

Hawke's Bay, Northland and Otago prisons have emerged as the worst performers in the first-ever league table ranking the nation's jails.

The Corrections Department has begun compiling the tables in response to criticism that performance targets at the privately-managed Mt Eden Prison could not be compared with public sector jails.

Of its 17 prisons, Corrections says six are exceeding performance targets, eight are operating effectively and three need improvement.

Corrections says those prisons ranked at the bottom - Hawke's Bay, Northland and Otago - are working on reducing the number of assaults on staff and prisoners.

Otago Prison has also been directed to improve inmates' literacy levels and to prepare offender plans in a more timely way.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says the introduction of the league tables is not about naming and shaming those jails not performing well enough.

She says the tables are meant to bring benefits, not blame.

"Well, it will help the prisons focus on improvement where we need it, learning from one another, sharing good ideas and good practice, and so it's designed to lift the performance of all the prisons.

"And then that in turn means that prisoners are not only getting good management but good rehabilitation."