Call for independent inquiry into Springhill riot

updated By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

No Pride in Prisons is calling for an independent inquiry into the Spring Hill riot.  The Prisoner advocacy group say they have grave concerns about the recent Corrections report into the 2013 rampage that revealed several issues before the flare-up.

No Pride in Prison is disputing a Corrections report that lays the cause of the Springhill prison riot on homebrew consumed by some prisoners and a fight that broke out between them.

“Corrections is trying to shift blame away from the conditions that it created in that prison and put them on to individual prisoners,” says No Pride in Prisons spokesperson Emilie Rākete.

The report reveals other factors before the riot that may have exacerbated prisoner discontent in Unit16B, such as prisoners being locked up for 26 hours at a time and double bunking to accommodate an increased prisoner capacity by 52 percent, from 674 to 1027 beds.

Labour Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis says, “The riot was caused by the failings of the prison managers. Due to the long periods being locked up in their rooms.  26 hours.  And the mangers knew of other incidents involving homebrew they didn't stop.”

Rākete, says, “If they make a mistake like this and then let a bunch of people be hurt because they couldn't realise that putting people in boxes at 26 hours at a time was going to cause violence, then they shouldn't have the responsibility of checking if they made a mistake or not.”

Four years ago the nine-hour riot was started by 27 prisoners drunk on an illicit homemade alcohol, damaged the prison facility and lit fires.  However, the report blanks out the timeline of events of DVM footage.

Davis says, “The line between what is right and true is being hidden. So I want to see what's hidden.”

In a statement to Te Kāea Corrections said, "None of the factors alone can account for what happened, but the combination and alignment of all of these factors created the pre-conditions in which the riot was able and more likely, to occur."

No Pride in Prisons will make a submission to the Ombudsmen to have the DVM footage details released.