Kelvin Davis: One option for prisons is “mattresses on the floor”

Labour has announced that they intend to scrap National’s plans for a larger prison at Waikeria and intends instead to build a 600 bed prison at Waikeria: Quote:

The Government will build a new 500-bed facility at Waikeria to help relieve pressure on the bursting prison system.

There would also be a further 100 beds in what Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis is calling a “first-of-its-kind” mental health facility.

The 600-bed prison was due to be completed by early 2022 and was expected to cost about $750 million.

And half of all cells at the new facility will be double-bunked, meaning two-thirds of prisoners will share a cella practice Labour and the Greens have been critical of in the past.

Davis said the Government was also looking at options to accommodate a further 400 prisoners, including transitional housing.

The announcement about the new build, comes after the coalition Government made a promise to ditch the former National government’s plans for a 1500-cell prison.

National had planned a $1 billion public-private partnership build on the same site, in order to deal with the rapidly growing prison population.

But both Davis and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have said the Government was ditching the “American-style mega-prison”. End quote.

They’ve also announced that they will be installing new container cells at other prisons, but they’ve called them  “rapid build” cells. But that isn’t the interesting part of all this, it was Kelvin Davis and his trainwreck interview with Heather du Plessis-Allan on NewstalkZB that has people talking: Quote:

The Corrections Minister says scrapping National’s American-style mega prison is the right decision.

The Government has announced its plans to build a new 500-bed high-security prison, as well as a 100-bed mental health facility.

Kelvin Davis told Heather Du Plessis-Allan he’s confident they’ve got the balance right to deal with the rising prison population. End quote.

During his interview he was challenged on what he was going to do if the prison population kept on rising. His answer was bizarre to say the least. Heather du Plessis-Allan quite rightly attacked him over his comment that “mattresses on the floor” might be a solution.

Labour continue to be hung by their own rhetoric when in opposition. Kelvin Davis danced to a merry tune on Corrections when in opposition. He accused the former government of corruption, perpetrating violence and bringing back Victoria era corrections policy. Now he is talking about mattresses on the floor for inmates.

A lot of people might think that mattresses on the floor is still rather too kind, but we actually do run a modern prison system, not some archaic third world type prison system. It is highly embarrassing that this minister seems unable to hold a coherent conversation with anyone.

If a National Corrections minister made such an outrageous statement they would be rightly hounded from office. Will anyone hold Kelvin Davis to account for this statement?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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