New Zealand: prison labour used to build new parts of Waikeria Prison

Prison labour is being used to build the new parts of Waikeria Prison, the site of a riot 18 months ago.

Fifty-six prisoners have been welding, piling, scaffolding, cable-laying, roofing, and doing carpentry as part of a Release-to-Work programme since earthworks began in 2018. The programme has been on hold since last October because of Covid-19, but is now starting back up.

The prisoners have been assessed as fit to work by the prison director and are paid market rates by the building company, with a third of their wages going back to Corrections for board. The rest is used for fines or reparation payments, and to save up for release. However, justice advocates say while skill-building is a good thing, it would be better placed on other projects.