Site Selection Guidelines Confirmed For The Northland Regional Prison

  • Nick Smith

Corrections Minister Nick Smith today announced the guidelines that will be used to choose the new regional prison site in Northland. He also called for owners of potentially suitable pieces of land to put their sites forward for consideration.

"Regional prisons, like the one planned for Northland, are part of the Government's strategy not just to deal with the increase in inmates but to help reduce re-offending."

"Having inmates serving their time in their home community is commonsense. Families too often end up paying the price for the offenders' crime. It is not fair on families in Northland. Their sons, husbands or fathers are miles away and as far south as Christchurch. Currently there are 250 inmates serving their sentences away from the Northland region. If we are to reduce reoffending then inmates have to be able to maintain close contact with their families and support networks."

The Government announced last year that three new prisons would be built. Regional facilities are planned for Northland, greater Auckland, and a new remand centre is currently under construction in central Auckland.

Additional prison space is needed to cope with the growth in prison population which New Zealand, like many other countries, has experienced over the past decade. Numbers are predicted to continue rising into the new millennium, with our prisons holding about 6,700 inmates by 2,005 and 7,750 by 2,010.

"It is vital to identify the best site to meet Northland's prison accommodation needs. New prisons bring jobs. It is important not only to get the right site but to balance that with social and economic factors that affect the lives of people in the community. The Department has worked hard to consult with the community to identify their concerns and develop guidelines that reflect the key issues people believe are important in deciding where the prison will be."

Advertisements seeking registrations of interest will appear in newspapers throughout Northland from tomorrow. Landowners have until Friday 19 February to lodge details of their sites with the Department of Corrections.