Tag Archives: Jail

Prison chaos: New Zealand’s riotous prison history | Instant News


Prison reform groups and prison supporters called it a protest. The authorities are more likely to call it a riot.

Either way, this week’s chaos is on Waikeria Prison is the longest-running and most destructive showdown in New Zealand prisons for decades.

The Waikeria disturbance dwarfed the 2013 Spring Hill riots, when inmates drunk on home-brew ran rampant and burned but controlled within nine hours.

Over generations, riots and protests broke out in New Zealand prisons for a variety of reasons.

Despite the widespread damage, the deadlock in Waikeria was resolved by negotiation.

In the past, prison rebellions were sometimes only suppressed by extreme violence.

FEATHERSTON POW CAMP, 1943

Japanese prisoners of war (above) gardening at Camp Featherston under the supervision of NZ Army guards, dated 1943-1945.
Japanese prisoners of war (above) gardening at Camp Featherston under the supervision of NZ Army guards, dated 1943-1945.

Over the years, confrontation and carnage in a camp near the quiet town of South Wairarapa is one of New Zealand’s darkest secrets.

After the Allied victory at Guadalcanal, Japanese prisoners of war (POW) were taken from the Solomon Islands to New Zealand.

That camping in Featherston held hundreds of prisoners of war.

In February 1943, several Japanese prisoners of war went on strike. The unruly inmates threw stones and then reportedly ran off the guards.

The guards opened fire, killing 31 prisoners in about 30 seconds. 17 other prisoners died later from their wounds, and one guard died.

According to NZ Geographic, many government agencies edited the first report, fearing Japanese retaliation against the Commonwealth POWs.

A military court of inquiry found that the shooting was unavoidable.

Some court details and many other official records were withheld under an embargo for 50 years.

MT EDEN, 1965

Mount Eden is a place where it doesn’t work an escape attempt in July 1965.

Daniel MacMillan and Godfrey Jonassen Sadaraka planned the vacation.

“Their plan was simple and involved a gun, locks and brute force,” the crime writer and sociologist Jarrod Gilbert wrote in the Herald.

“The two men freed the other inmates with improvised keys and iron bars.”

The central Auckland Prison, which was currently housing inmates serving sentences for violent crimes, burst into flames and chaos.

“Violent rioting” destroyed the interior but failed to permanently close the prison, wrote author Mark Derby Rock College: The unofficial history of the Mount Eden Prison.

The rioting continued for 33 hours, causing severe damage.

“Lines of armed police, guards and troops stand guard around the prison in hastily mounted spotlights,” explained the 1966 Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

After the police and prison authorities took control, some of the disorderly inmates were transferred to Christchurch.

It proved to be far from ideal for a South Island city.

CHRISTCHURCH, 1965

Mt Eden Prison in the 1960's.  Several unwanted rioters from the Auckland prison were sent to Christchurch, where their penchant for protesting soon became clear to the Cantabrian guards.  Photo / Provided
Mt Eden Prison in the 1960’s. Several unwanted rioters from the Auckland prison were sent to Christchurch, where their penchant for protesting soon became clear to the Cantabrian guards. Photo / Provided

Within a week, new arrivals were driven from Mount Eden sparking riots in Paparua in Christchurch.

Chaos broke out during chapel service and six guards were injured.

Immediately after, flames lit up on the east wing of the prison.

“Firefighters trying to control the blaze were confronted with a barrage of cutlery, bottles, bricks and furniture,” said a British journalist at Movietone-AP at the time.

Tear gas was used to suppress riots.

By the time the rioting was stopped, more than 40 wardens and police were lightly injured, said Encyclopedia New Zealand.

RIMUTAKA, 2007

Aerial view of Rimutaka Prison, where rioters caused $ 410,000 worth of damage in the 2007 upheaval. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Aerial view of Rimutaka Prison, where rioters caused $ 410,000 worth of damage in the 2007 upheaval. File photo / Mark Mitchell

North Wellington, Rimutaka Prison staggered from scandal to scandal in 2007.

The Herald describes the catastrophic cascade of the time. In March of that year, 11 staff were withdrawn pending a corruption and smuggling investigation.

That same month, a senior manager was given special leave due to a claim of mismanagement.

Convicted rapist Peter Mana McNamara somehow managed to father a son while serving seven years in prison.

In April, young men affiliated with rival gangs Black Power and Mongrel Mob rioted, reportedly causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

The following month, inmates took over part of the juvenile offender unit, leaving the entire prison locked up.

The NZPA reports that about 15 inmates climbed onto the roof and stayed there for more than five hours before being coaxed down.

The riot damage cost $ 410,000, according to the NZPA report.

A parole board source on Sunday said Rimutaka had carried out reforms and was now considered one of the country’s best prisons and most effective in rehabilitation.

NORTHLAND, 2012

The Ngawha Prison near Kaikohe was the scene of riots in 2012. But the disturbance was insignificant when compared to the chaos of Waikeria.  Photo / Dean Purcell
The Ngawha Prison near Kaikohe was the scene of riots in 2012. But the disturbance was insignificant when compared to the chaos of Waikeria. Photo / Dean Purcell

At Northland Regional Prison near Kaikohe, riot squads were deployed after inmates damaged cells and started a fire.

The entire prison, known as Ngawha, was locked.

The riots erupted a month after a confrontation between guards and inmates that left an officer hospitalized with minor injuries after being hit to the head.

However, the disturbance only lasted about an hour.

The Herald at the time reported Correction staff from Auckland being sent to the prison, including highly trained members of the control and restraint unit.

Mac Anania’s parents later told RNZ that prisoners were responsible for the riot.

He said prison prisoners were often restless because they were smokers who suddenly found themselves in prison turning cold turkeys.

SPRING HILL, 2013:

Emergency services try to extinguish fires during riots at Spring Hill Waikato Prison in June 2013.Photo / Doug Sherring
Emergency services try to extinguish fires during riots at Spring Hill Waikato Prison in June 2013.Photo / Doug Sherring

In the winter of 2013, several inmates got drunk on homebrew and lit a fire at the Spring Hill prison near Hampton Downs, between Hamilton and Auckland.

As news of the fiery rebellion spread to other prisons, inmates with maximum security Paremoremo jammed the gates and tried to start a fire.

But serious disruption only occurs in Spring Hill.

And unlike this week’s Waikeria chaos, the disruption on Spring Hill was brought under control in less than half a day.

In a post-riot review, Correction said the Spring Hill disturbance was the biggest and most damaging case of “mutual indiscipline” in any prison in the 21st century.

And an investigation finds parts of the prison management team are divided and malfunctioning.

The Spring Hill Riot caused $ 10 million in damage.

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Waikeria Prison Rebellion: Fear of roofs collapsing, ‘tensions’ escalating, rioters throwing rubble at police | Instant News


New Zealand

16 prisoners maintained their protest on the roof of the prison after 4 days. Videos / Newshub

More fires broke out overnight at the Waikeria Prison and Correctional Facility said the situation at the facility remained “very unstable”.

Incident supervisor Jeanette Burns said there was tension in the group of 16 inmates in the “upper prison” who had access to weapons and may have used drugs from pharmacies.

“I appreciate that this event is very sad for the family and friends of the inmates involved,” said Burns.

“We have no information to suggest that any of them were injured.”

They kept urging the men to give up, she said.

“We don’t want men, our staff or other emergency services staff to be harmed.”

Burns said anyone who did not ask the people to give up peacefully immediately jeopardized the safety of prisoners, staff and emergency services.

The prisoners continued to light a fire inside the facility overnight, threatening staff and police and throwing debris at them from the roof of the building, he said.

“We are concerned about the integrity of the burning building structure and the potential for collapse, as well as the toxicity of the burning building materials,” he said.

“Along with this we know that there is tension between group members, they have access to weapons and they may have used drugs from pharmacies.”

The situation remains “very unstable” and options for intervention are limited because of the dangers.

“Nonetheless, we continue to work closely with the police to ensure that every opportunity to resolve incidents with the aim of minimizing harm to anyone is considered and acted upon.

“We have an obligation to look after these people, and they will most likely remain in our custody for the next few years.

“Their point has been made. We are building a new facility to replace the existing top prison facility, which will be completed in 2022.”

The group avoided arrest on the roof of the prison after riots involving starting a fire ravaged the prison grounds on Tuesday afternoon.

The previous correction said, while the damage to the upper prison needed to be assessed, it was unlikely that prisoners would be accommodated there anymore.

Whereas family members who were desperate on the outside had urged them to give up but warn their loved ones to be “willing to die” if their basic needs are not met.

A relative told RNZ today that their cousin who is protesting doesn’t care whether he is alive or dead, because he is defending his rights.

“He’s restless, he’s hungry, he’s thirsty … but he said he’ll survive … at least he knows he’s defending his rights and the rights of others who will be held in this prison.”

The woman told RNZ that her cousin was only detained for not paying the fine and having a 6 month old baby at home.

Inmate pay phones, and all other phones in the prison, are currently out of service.

Correction said it appreciates this will be worrying and inconvenient for the inmates and their family and friends and is working to resolve it quickly.

It is said to provide assurance that all inmates in other units are safe and sound in the prison.

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Waikeria Uprising: Witnesses report new fires in prison as protests continue | Instant News


Adrien Disher, who lives near the Waikeria Prison, said he saw another fire in Waikeria last night.

A new fire broke out in the Waikeria Prison last night, according to an eye witness, after several days of rioting at the facility.

A group of 16 inmates are still avoiding arrest on the roof of the prison after starting riots and lighting a destructive fire in the prison yard on Tuesday afternoon.

Adrian Disher, who lives about 3 km from the prison, said the fires only started last night and he saw emergency services heading to the scene around 7pm.

“It’s quite big, up in the treetops.”

“This must be a new one,” he said.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand directs requests about reported fires to Corrections.

Meanwhile, a former negotiator earlier yesterday said it was “unthinkable” that the fighting had been going on for so long.

Correction said the men had gained access to tactical equipment including shields and body armor, and made homemade weapons for use against prison staff.

With 13 years of experience dealing with crisis negotiations under his belt, Lance Burdett knows the importance of trying to limit situations to two or three days.

The Waikeria prison near Te Awamutu was smoldering after a night of fire as the prisoners continued to riot.  Photo / NEWSHUB
The Waikeria prison near Te Awamutu was smoldering after a night of fire as the prisoners continued to riot. Photo / NEWSHUB

“The longer it takes, the more likely it won’t end well,” he said.

“People are being assertive – they are not going to give a little.”

Burdett, who runs consultancy Warn International, has studied events around the world and said history books show how the siege is getting worse.

The golden rule of negotiation emphasizes getting the other person to talk and listen.

“Don’t be afraid to give something away,” added Burdett.

He admits conflicting traditions, but says being the first to offer something creates goodwill.

There are concerns over the structural integrity of the Waikeria Prison buildings following the significant damage caused by the riots.  Photo / NEWSHUB
There are concerns over the structural integrity of the Waikeria Prison buildings following the significant damage caused by the riots. Photo / NEWSHUB

“That applies to human nature. If I buy you a drink, the first thing you want to do, apart from drinking it, is buy me another one.”

He also said it was important that arrangements be made “honest and respectful”.

“Never lie, once you lie, you’ve lost all credibility.”

He praised the Penitentiary for allowing inmates to speak with parents and deputy leader of the Māori Party, Rawiri Waititi.

The inmates have asked to speak with the vice chairman of the Māori Party, Rawiri Waititi.  Photo / Andrew Warner
The inmates have asked to speak with the vice chairman of the Māori Party, Rawiri Waititi. Photo / Andrew Warner

“Both are very good choices and I commend them for doing that.”

However, he said old school tactics such as trying to starve rioters were unlikely to get good results.

“You just add fuel to the fire.”

Something had to happen to break the deadlock.

“Now the Correctional Center is in a position where the prison is basically being held for ransom by a group of individuals. They have to move at some point.

“This is not the only prison in New Zealand. There are other prisons and they will look at this and see what the response is.”

The correction was confirmed last night that inmates deliberately activated sprinklers in the cell on three occasions yesterday – twice at Mt Eden Remand Prison and once at Rimutaka Prison.

Fire and emergency response and prisoners secured in new cells.

The Herald asked Correction whether it was concerned about copycat behavior among inmates after the Waikeria Prison riots and what precautions the department was taking to monitor and suppress such behavior.

Correction said it could not respond last night, but added “no incidents of copycat behavior”.

Last night, Waititi said he had been contacted by the inmates’ whānau who said the men were only willing to surrender if he was present.

“They don’t trust the authorities and believe they will be harmed after surrendering,” he said.

“They have stated that they would come out with body bags if I was not there to escort them out and ensure their safety.

“This is a protest, not a riot.”

Waititi said he had tried to contact Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis but was blocked from accessing the prison a second time.

“The law allows the right for every member of parliament to visit prisons and communicate with inmates regarding their treatment in prison or complaints about treatment,” Waititi said.

“The purpose of my first visit was not to negotiate surrender. I went to listen.”

The aim of the second visit is to ensure the safety of the 16 people when they surrender, he said.

“If this situation turns into custard and if there are fatalities – it is entirely on the Government.”

Opposition lawmakers are demanding Government intervention to end the crisis, with
National Party leader Judith Collins asked Davis to step up.

On Twitter, he chided Davis for not making a public statement in favor of Corrections staff “dealing with violent prison riots” in Waikeria.

“Let’s be clear. The mass destruction of taxpayer-funded property, assaults of correctional staff and stockpiling of weapons are not ‘peaceful protests’,” he wrote, too.

Davis needs to explain how the loss of control happened and what he will do to fix it, Collins said.

“He was very happy bragging about prison in opposition but now that he’s in charge, he’s nowhere to be seen.”

Riot inmates at the Waikeria Prison have been in hiding since setting fire to the facility on Tuesday afternoon.  Photo / NEWSHUB
Riot inmates at the Waikeria Prison have been in hiding since setting fire to the facility on Tuesday afternoon. Photo / NEWSHUB

A spokesman for Davis said he would not comment or visit the prison until the situation was resolved.

Maori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki called for calm amid rising tensions.

He asks politicians to step down and allow manau to work with correctionals, prisoners and whanau to resolve the situation quickly.

“The issues being handled are complex and in the interests of the safety of all parties involved, we have to resolve this situation and be on time.

“Health and safety risks to workers and prisoners need to be addressed as do the broader concerns of all involved.

“The reality is that the prison may have reached its use by date and in time to discuss its future – but that can only happen against the backdrop of a swift resolution to the current impasse.”

Incident supervisor Jeanette Burns yesterday said 16 prisoners continued to light significant fires.

Police at Waikeria Prison near Te Awamutu as fighting continues between the inmates and guards.  Photo / Michael Craig
Police at Waikeria Prison near Te Awamutu as fighting continues between the inmates and guards. Photo / Michael Craig

“We are very committed to ensuring that this is resolved safely,” he said.

“There are many risks involved, including the structural integrity of buildings damaged by fire, the weapons and equipment available to detainees, the toxicity of the burning building materials, and the violence offered by detainees.”

Negotiations with the group are ongoing, he said.

On Friday, Correction confirmed the unrest experienced by inmates gain access to power tools and tactical equipment as well as making emergency weapons.

Protesting prisoners have also accessed medical pharmacies where controlled medicines are stored.

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MNA Ali Wazir was sent to prison for judicial detention | Instant News


KARACHI:

The Anti-Terrorism Court sent the leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and MNA Ali Wazir and others to prison for judicial detention.

Police point out Wazir and others before the ATC in Karachi. The court sent all the accused to prison with judicial detention.

The court then directs the investigating officers to submit the lawsuit to the court until the next trial.

PTM leaders are was arrested in Peshawar on December 16 on charges of hate speech against state institutions during a speech at a rally in Karachi on December 6, according to police sources.

The Wazir, who won his seat in the National Assembly from South Waziristan, said he did not know why he was detained.

Meanwhile, fellow party leader Mohsin Dawar, claimed that Wazir had been arrested when he walked out of the Shuhada-e-APS Memorial Library.

Peshawar Police said that Wazir was transferred to the East Cantt Police Station after his arrest and a case had been filed against him at Sohrab Goth Police Station in Karachi.

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Waikeria uprising: Prisoners are still rioting at the Waikato prison | Instant News


Outside the Waikeria Prison today where inmates clash with guards. Photo / Michael Craig

Prisoners who have been strained with guards at Waikeria Prison are now believed to have full control of the wing.

The Herald understands all obedient inmates have been removed from the wing where 16 inmates have lit fires and hurled projectiles at guards who couldn’t get close enough to end the hostage taking.

The prison remains in isolation today, nearly 24 hours after a group of inmates mutinied and started lighting a fire yesterday afternoon.

It is understood that most of the wings were badly damaged by fire.

This morning’s correction said that four of the 19 inmates had surrounded overnight, but the prison was badly damaged and could not possibly be used to house any more inmates.

Drama started yesterday in the prison practice yard around 2pm, and then moved to the rooftop, where the inmates burned the mattress.

A source told the Herald that the rebellion started after the inmates were denied a haircut, but Correction was unable to confirm this until they spoke to “affected prisoners”.

Further information is expected to be released about the situation at a press conference this afternoon.

Correction said 16 detainees remained within safe limits on the roof of one building, the so-called “upper prison unit”.

One source told the Herald that the prisoners had thrown projectiles at prison guards – wood, metal and anything else they could tear from the damaged roof.

As a result, the police were too dangerous to get too close to the prisoners. So far no one has been hurt.

The source said there was a slight risk of the detainees running away because there were two guardrails – electric and wire – and those fences were being patrolled by correctional staff.

The weather was hot and sunny, so the source said it was hoped the prisoners would become “hot and hungry” and turn themselves in.

Correction said there were no fatalities or injuries to staff or detainees. NZ Fire and Emergency, Police and St John remain in prison and work closely with Corrections staff.

A Corrections spokesman said the damaged part of the building was still burning hours after the fire started. It was not safe to try to extinguish the flames while the rioting continued, he said.

“At this stage the fire has not been put out. Obviously we need to wait for the disobedient prisoners to be brought under control before we can send fire and emergency to fully assess the situation and control it,” he said. .

“We are not sure how widespread the fire is at this stage, but several parts were burned, including the mattress that was burned,” he said.

A faint stream of smoke could still be seen floating from one end of the prison facility.

While the condition of the building needs to be assessed, it is unlikely that detainees will be accommodated there again, Correction said in a statement. The facility was built in 1911 and replaced by a new prison scheduled to open there in 2022.

View of the Waikeria Prison where the inmates are on the roof mattress that had been burning since last night.  Photo / Provided
View of the Waikeria Prison where the inmates are on the roof mattress that had been burning since last night. Photo / Provided

Correction described the prisoners behind the rebellion as “disobedient”.

Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis declined to comment while the situation in prison remains unresolved.

Last night, 49 inmates were evacuated from the riot sector facility to another unit in the prison. Overnight 163 people were temporarily transferred to other locations within the prison, the spokesman said.

The flow of prisoner vans with tinted windows continued their exit from the facility this afternoon.

The Specialist Advanced Control and Control Team, made up of staff from various prisons, is in the prison, where the inmates have been out of control since Tuesday afternoon.

Photos emailed to NZME late at night showed huge smoke clouds visible from neighboring farmland.

Police, firefighters and St John confirmed that they were still at the scene as Correctional Officers continued to try to negotiate with the inmates and ensure the safety of everyone in the prison.

A spokesman said yesterday that 19 prisoners were seen on the roof of the building. This includes those who were involved in lighting fires in the courtyard today, along with several other people who were able to get out of their cells.

“Prisoners can access some parts of the building by penetrating the roof space, but their movement inside the building is restricted by internal gates, barriers and secure doors.

“There was a lot of smoke around the building, coming from the mattress the prisoners burned.”

“There are about 230 prisoners in total in the ‘top prison’ facility and we will not hesitate to evacuate further detainees if necessary to keep them safe.”

FENZ was initially summoned to Waikeria after inmates lit several fires in the prison’s practice yard on Tuesday afternoon.

About 20 prisoners were using the courtyard at the time.

The situation was thought to be under control before the nine detainees refused to comply with the instructions, Newshub reported.

The perpetrators allegedly removed the toilet door from their hinges and used it as a weapon against staff.

Correctional Association President Alan Whitley said the union is offering support.

“We are always concerned about people when situations like this occur, but we have a special team that has special training, they are professional people and they will do a professional job to control the situation,” Whitley told RNZ.

St John treated a number of staff and inmates for smoke inhalation. Earlier in the evening, it was thought that at least one inmate was bleeding after an argument with guards.

One detained inmate said riots in the prison were imminent, with inmates protesting for human rights. They claim there are problems in the prison, including toilet paper that is taking days, Newshub reports.

Last year, two Waikeria Prison Correction officers were punched in the face within days, while clashes between prisoners have also been reported.

An inmate punched an officer in the face and another officer was also injured when he stepped in to help.

The fight occurred after an officer was threatened and punched a few days earlier.

There have also been previous reports of inmates fighting amongst themselves.

The Waikeria Prison is one of New Zealand’s largest prisons, located on a 1,200ha site south of Te Awamutu in the Waikato region.

The “top prison” where inmates currently reside were built in 1911 and are the oldest part of the prison. It was replaced by a new facility under construction at the prison and which is slated to open in 2022.

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