Security, order, and discipline

Security functions are fulfilled by

the penitentiary administration

Some prison facilities, units or cells implement high-security measures


Some prisons, such as Mount Eden, have isolation cells with constant video surveillance. Visits are not allowed for detainees in these cells.

Cells hosting detainees considered to be at risk of suicide or self-harm are also under 24-hour CCTV surveillance.

Prisoners are classified according to their supposed level of dangerousness


Body search procedures follow specific guidelines. The officer conducting the search must be of the same sex as the prisoner and must be accompanied of an officer of the same sex. Searches should be conducted at reasonable times. They include pat-down searches, scanner searchers and cell searches.

Strip searches (mouth, nose, ears, anal, and genital areas) can only be conducted when the prisoner enters or leaves the prison (including transfers to court) and when there are reasonable grounds to believe something is hidden inside his body.

The Committee against Torture showed concern over the wide variety of circumstances for which is possible to conduct strip searches1.

  1. UN Committee against Torture, CAT/C/NZL/CO/6, p. 4. 

The prison service keeps record of incidents


Disciplinary sanctions can be imposed as a collective punishment


The SPT received complaints of juveniles stating that general lock ups have been applied “as a form of collective punishment following an infraction by a single individual.”1.

  1. UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture, CAT/OP/NZL/1, May 2014, p. 18 

Solitary confinement can be used as

  • punishment
  • protection
  • security

Prisoners can be sentenced to cell confinement according to the section 69 of the Corrections Art 2004.

Solitary confinement cells are in specific units. Solitary confinement cells, called Management Units, especially those of Mount Eden Correctional Facility, were criticised by the SPT in its last report for having a “deplorable hygienic state”.

The SPT found the Management Cells in the Auckland Maximum Security prisons extremely small, comparing them to a ‘tin-can’ and criticising the constant CCTV surveillance. The exercise yard was “a small cage that offered no opportunity for exercise at all”.

Prisoners in solitary confinement lose their activities, job, or training. The right to participate in activities may be denied during cell confinement.

Family ties are not maintained when they are in solitary confinement.