Ministry of Corrections to "step in" at Mt Eden Prison

The Ministry of Corrections will be "stepping-in" on Serco operations following reports of violent incidents at Mount Eden Prison.  Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu Iiga said today that day-to-day running of the prison will commence on Monday 27 July.

Mount Eden Corrections Facility (MECF) operated by Serco is one of only two privately-managed Corrections Facilities in New Zealand and is located on the edge of Auckland's Central Business District.

It accommodates up to 976 male prisoners, most of whom are on remand.  This makes Mount Eden one of the biggest prisons in the country.

As of 24 July 2015 there were 973 prisoners in MECF.

Today, the Minister activated the Step-in Clause, "which allows Corrections to install staff or procure a third party to perform some or all of the services as considered necessary."

The Minister has been under fire this week, holding meetings with Serco heads to clear the concerns and allegations made.

The step-in comes following reports of violent incidents having emerged, including videos being posted to YouTube of inmates fighting in their cells, and allegations of "dropping" causing grievous harm to inmates.

Serco staff have been told the step-in period will commence on Monday 27 July, and as the nature of a step-in is temporary, the date at which Corrections will "step-out" is unknown.