The proposed mega-prison in Waikeria will not go ahead.

Corrections Minister, Kelvin Davis, confirmed the decision about the controversial facility which was promulgated to deal with the country's growing prison population.

According to prison reform advocate Kim Workman, they hope the government may now look at alternative avenues.  

“That would probably mean building a smaller prison perhaps 500 beds something. And the second thing they have to do is start moving quickly towards a strategy to reduce the numbers and reintegration strategy will help.”

Davis says they are still considering what the best solution will be, but according to Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta, it won’t be by spending $1 billion on a new prison.

“We aren’t going to throw $1 billion at a prison at Waikeria.”

Workman says they cannot avoid building a new prison to cope with the crisis but it’s the shape and the running of it that must be different to the prisons we have now.

“I would expect that the design of the new prison will be humane and effective not double bunking and hopefully won’t look like the prisons have looked like for the past 100 years.”

Workman also says the court rules also need to be looked at particularly when it comes to bail.

“Start moving quickly towards a strategy to reduce the numbers and proper reintegration strategies will help, removing the bail law perhaps reducing some of the lengths of sentences for a non-violent crime would help as well.”

It’s an issue the Corrections Minister says he wants to take his time to consider the right option, but it’s also an issue that may not see any relief until a decision is made. 

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