Prison advocacy group calls for Kelvin Davis to resign

By Whatitiri Te Wake

A prison advocacy group is calling for Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis to step down.

The call comes after prisoner advocacy group People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) claims the Minister lacks action to improve the conditions of inmates.

“Kelvin Davis has showed himself to be completely incapable of resolving the problems that have been placed before him as Minister of Corrections and he should resign," says PAPA spokesperson Emilie Rakete.

"He should resign when we find out that Māori women are being forced to show used tampons to male guards in order to get clean ones.” 

Rakete says if the uprising at Waikeria Prison was an isolated event "then we wouldn't have hundreds of people coming to PAPA every year asking our prison advocates to help them".

However, Davis says he has no intentions of stepping down

“Ko taua rōpū te rōpū e mea ana kia whakakahoretia i nga whare herehere katoa. Ahakoa te kino o ngā he o etahi o nga tangata kei roto i aua whare herehere no reira kore au e whakaae ki to rātou tono ki a hau kia heke iho i taku turanga (Thats the group who are wanting to end prisons. Despite the serious crimes some inmates in prison have committed. So I don’t agree with that, or their call for me to step down from my position.)”

Davis yesterday claimed the publication quoting Rawiri Waititi was irresponsible behaviour has endangered the lives of correction officers.

“We’ve got to remember that during the Waikeria incident there were 180 people who were locked in their cells while that place was set on fire”. Minister Davis said

Māori make up 53% of people in prison, compared to NZ European who make up 31% and Pacific who make up 12%.