Corrections is trying to prevent prisoners from stockpiling
fruit after inmates were found to have made an alcoholic
drink out of it before a major riot at Spring Hill Prison.
The alcoholic concoction also contained hand sanitiser, which
has now been removed from all New Zealand prisons.
Corrections chief executive Ray Smith told Parliament this
morning that gang-related offenders had been consuming an
alcoholic substance for a long period before the eight-hour
riot, the worst in a New Zealand prison in 15 years.
The substance was believed to have been made out of an
alcoholic hand sanitiser and fermented fruit.
The violent melee involved 23 prisoners and led to a huge
fire at the Waikato facility.
Mr Smith said that as a result of the riot, alcohol-based
sanitiser had now been removed from all facilities.
Prisoners were also banned from having more than seven pieces
of fruit at once. They were given two pieces a day with their
meals, but could also buy more.
Mr Smith said limiting the supply of potentially alcoholic
substances was a problem in New Zealand prisons and
Staff had considered initiatives to limit the risk by
reducing the amount of sweeteners that were given to
prisoners, because they could be used to make alcohol.
Staff had also considered putting holes in any plastic bags
given to prisoners so they could not be used to store
Reviews have found a number of factors led to the riot,
including a high concentration in high-risk prisoners at the
- By Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald