3 Jun 2013

Prison riot handled well on limited resources - union

10:21 pm on 3 June 2013

The union representing prison officers says the riot at Spring Hill prison was handled well, given the resources available.

Two cell blocks and a staff base were badly damaged when 29 inmates went on a rampage at the Waikato jail on Saturday. It took about 10 hours for the situation to be brought under control and caused over $1 million worth of damage.

Corrections Association president Beven Hanlon says a member of one of the specialist teams sent in to assist has told him the operation went relatively smoothly.

"Going through flaming buildings and taking on armed prisoners with the limited equipment that we have and, although it would have been good to have better tools, we've got what we've got and we did a great job with them."

Mr Hanlon says there is nothing that the officers who were supervising the 29 prisoners could have done to stop the situation from escalating.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says 117 inmates have been moved to other jails, many through no fault of their own, because of the damage.

Mrs Tolley says they will be severely affected as they will be further away from their families.

The minister says gang members were involved. The Department of Corrections is investigating.