New Zealand’s most violent and disturbed inmates will soon be able to walk on real grass – take sun baths and practise yoga in their cells as the country opens its first ‘humane’ prison for maximum-security offenders.
The NZ$300m prison has just been completed on the outskirts of Auckland and when it opens will be the only specialist facility for maximum- and high-security male prisoners in the country.
The prison has been designed to operate as a ‘de facto mental health unit’ as the number of mentally ill incarcerated men continues to soar.
New Zealand has one of the highest incarceration rates in the developed world – with M?ori people accounting for more than 50% of all prisoners – despite representing only 15% of the overall population.
Some 90% of prisoners have a life-long diagnosis of mental illness or addiction.