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Otago Corrections Facility slammed over CCTV cameras covering bathrooms

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The Otago Corrections Facility at Milburn near Milton. Photo / ODT

The Ombudsman has slammed the Otago Corrections Facility for the “unacceptable” use of CCTV cameras in cells there.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier said it was “completely inappropriate” that CCTV cameras covered showers and toilets in the prison.

“As a minimum, the men in the care of Otago Corrections Facility should be able to carry out their ablutions with some privacy,” Boshier said.

Some of the prisoners affected were under the age of 18, he said.

Prisoners could be seen on CCTV while undressing, showering and going to the toilet.

The concerns were raised following an unannounced inspection carried out in October 2020, the publication of which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Corrections received provisional findings from the report in May 2021.

The issue of CCTV cameras in showers and toilets was continually found in corrections facilities, Boshier said.

Concerns over use of force events at the prison, including around pepper spray and record-keeping, were also raised in the report.

“It is important, as a signatory to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment that New Zealand is treating prisoners at a certain standard,” Boshier said.

“I look forward to seeing a reduction in use of force events in future inspections,” he said.

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