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Video: 'We're not soliciting, men are crying out for help' - Serco bans outreach programme run by Destiny Church

The son-in-law of Destiny Church's leader Brian Tamaki says Serco is doing inmates a huge disservice after the church's outreach programme was banned from a South Auckland prison.

Tamaki's son-in-law Caine Warren has spoken out since his Man Up programme, which focuses on empowering men to be better fathers and partners, was banned from Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility last week.

Since October, Mr Warren had been visiting men in the prison every Wednesday; an initiative prompted by the men's partners and family members.

His visits were at 9.30am and 2.30am every Wednesday. He would see up to four men over the two visits.

He was on a routine visit last Wednesday when Serco staff told him he was no longer allowed to visit the facility.

"The word was that we were going in to solicit men inside the prison, which I found quite offensive in the context of what we provide voluntarily," he said.

An internal email, a Serco case manager made clear to staff that Man Up would not be facilitated at the prison.

The staff member wrote: "If you have any men who are being or who have been solicited for this programme can you please let me know?"

The email was leaked by a Serco employee who was angry about the decision to ban Man Up, and felt it unfairly targeted Destiny Church.

The surprise move has upset former inmates who benefited from the programme.

Mr Warren told 1 NEWS NOW he was given no formal or written explanation as to why he was no longer allowed to attend these visits.

He believes he was targeted because of his affiliation to Destiny Church.

"It's discrimination," he said.

"This programme is very close to my heart, some of these men are at that make or break stage... some of them go through cycles of drug use, are second or third generation gang members and they don't know any better.

"We unlock that potential in them and show them that this isn't the right path to go down... they see that potential in them to be better fathers, partners, husbands and brothers."

Prison director Mike Inglis said the Man Up organisation was not approved to deliver services to prisoners.

He said the prison recognised the importance of spiritual guidance for men in their care.

But prisoners had to speak to Kohuora's chaplains, or be referred by the chaplaincy team to people from other faiths.

"Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility has had no association with the Man Up programme," Mr Inglis said.

"Friends and family members are welcome to apply for approved visitor status and once this is confirmed, prisoners arrange domestic visits.

"Under the Corrections Act, a prisoner is entitled to receive at least one private visitor each week for a minimum of 30 minutes.

"Visits at Kohuora are 45 minutes long and sessions run daily from Wednesday to Sunday."

The Department of Corrections says although it has an oversight role and monitor at the facility, "Corrections is not involved in daily operational decisions that are the responsibility of management".