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Old 09-22-2004, 02:47 AM
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Default Christchurch Women's Prison New Zealand

Christchurch Women's Prison


Christchurch Women's Prison opened in 1974, when inmates and staff from Dunedin Prison for Women and the Women's Division at Christchurch Prison (formerly Paparua) were transferred to the new prison. The prison holds female inmates of all ages and security classifications. It has the only maximum security accommodation for women in New Zealand and four self-care units, along with remand, minimum and medium security inmates.

Christchurch (formerly Paparua), Christchurch Women's, Rolleston, Dunedin and Invercargill Prisons together form the South Island prison region.

The Prison generally accommodates up to 98 inmates.
Sentence management

The Department of Corrections provides a structured and integrated approach to managing offenders.

On arrival at prison, each inmate is assessed according to their risk of re-offending, the causes and influences of their offending behaviour, and their willingness to change. The assessment also looks at educational needs, health needs, special needs, and security risks.

A sentence plan is drawn up based on this assessment, focusing on giving the offender opportunities to break the cycle of re-offending. The plan may include programmes aimed at giving inmates the skills to deal with challenges they may face when they return to the community, such as budgeting, employment and relationships.

The process allows for the most appropriate form of intervention to be targeted to each offender. Interventions range from providing education and a career start for young offenders, to providing intensive programmes to those offenders motivated to address the causes of their offending.

Corrections has a strategy in place to minimise harm caused by drug use. The strategy aims to reduce the supply and demand of drugs in prison and the crime associated with it. To achieve the strategy, some of the methods used include visitor searches, vehicle checkpoints, use of drug dogs, a national 0800 JAILSAFE phone line, gathering crime related intelligence, liaison with the Police, and Alcohol and Drug inmate rehabilitation programmes.

All New Zealand prisons provide medical, dental, psychological and counselling services. Chaplains provide church services and Bible study groups.

A range of programmes has been developed either to improve motivation to change, address educative or employment needs or specifically address what drives an offender's offending behaviour.

The following programmes are offered at Christchurch Women's Prison:

* Straight Thinking - designed to assist offenders to address one of the main causes of their offending - the lack of critical reasoning required to live effectively in society.
* National Certificate in Employment Skills (NCES) - designed to improve the basic literacy and numeracy levels of inmates.
* Adult Literacy.
* Substance Abuse programmes - designed to address an offenders' substance abuse when it is one of the main contributing causes of their offending.
* Violence Prevention - group-based treatment for violent offenders.

Returning to the community

The Department believes the successful reintegration of offenders into the community provides the best protection for society. The Department aims to provide offenders with the skills, knowledge and confidence to live successfully in the community in order to reduce their likelihood of re-offending, and a range of reintegrative services is available.

Reintegrative needs are assessed at the start of an offender's sentence, and reviewed throughout. There are seven reintegrative objectives that can be planned for. These are:

* finding a job
* finding somewhere to live
* budgeting effectively
* managing relationships
* developing positive community support
* preventing victim-related problems
* keeping healthy.

There are three levels of assistance, with all offenders receiving "level one" self-help. This includes contact details of organisations that can help them re-settle once they have left prison, and access via case officers to a knowledge base. Some offenders will require greater support from their case officer, and further referral can be made to other specialist staff (eg. a social worker) or external agencies (eg. NZPARS) who can provide more in depth support and advice.

For those who do not have the skills to live independently on release, a further level of support is available through reintegrative programmes and/or living in self-care units. These are scheduled for near the end of their period in prison.
Three reintegrative programmes have been developed:

* Living Skills - a 36-hour broad-based programme to give offenders skills and knowledge across most reintegrative areas
* Budgeting Skills - a 10-hour group programme aimed at offenders with specific budgeting and money needs
* Parenting Skills - a 32-hour group programme designed to meet parenting skills needs.

While these programmes are not yet available at all prisons, it is anticipated they will be fully operational by 2004. All three programmes have been designed to meet the specific needs of Maori, Pacific Peoples, women and youth.

Inmates are employed in the kitchen, garden and grounds, sewing room and in general servicing functions such as cleaning and laundry. Inmates receive a small incentive for the work they do. Inmates participate in community service projects when these are available.

Inmates are able to enrol in formal education programmes ranging from remedial programmes to University Extension and Open Polytechnic programmes.

The National Certificate in Employment Skills is available to inmates at Christchurch Women's Prison. This is a pre-employment qualification which offers learning in a range of work related skills, including basic literacy and numeracy. NCES is recognised by many industry areas throughout New Zealand. The focus is on improving the educational level of inmates to assist them in gaining future employment.
Special units

There are four self-care units, each accommodating four inmates. The units enable minimum-security inmates to re-establish basic living skills and individual responsibility to help them prepare for release into the community. Self-care units have been set up to teach inmates independent living skills. In addition to the reintegrative focus in the unit, a special version of the living skills programme has been designed.
General information

Christchurch Women's Prison
Private Bag 4702

Telephone (03) 349 1430
Fax (03) 349 5727
Manager Wayne McKnight

Christchurch Women's Prison is about 20km south of Christchurch. The prison is past Templeton Hospital and left into Newtons on the right. Bus No.25 departs from Christchurch Square for the Prison at regular intervals during the day.

On request on Saturdays the bus may bring visitors to the Prison and collect them again for the return trip to the Square.
Visiting times




Sentenced inmates


9.00am - 11.00am
1.30pm - 3.30pm

Remand inmates

Mon, Tues, Thurs

1.45pm - 2.45pm


Fri 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Min Security

Saturday and Sunday

12.30pm - 3.00pm

Please note: Visitors should ensure that they have a visit time booked with the prison and a letter from the prison confirming this visiting time. Visitors arriving at the prison will be asked by staff to produce their letter of approval, sent prior to the visit, and a form of identification. Other arrangements to visit can be made in special circumstances. Staff may also ask to search a visitor's car, possessions or the visitor.
On occasions the prisons drug dog is used as an aid to detect drugs and other contraband being brought into the prison. All visitors are also required to produce proof of identity and may be required to undergo a search by an officer using a metal detector.

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