Corrections does not have time frame for prison proposal

The future of Invercargill Prison may not be known for some time as the Department of Corrections wants to ensure it gets it right.

A department spokeswoman confirmed on Friday last week that there was no timeframe for preparing a formal proposal "at this stage".

The Otago Daily Times reported last year that the department was looking at making changes, the agency stopping short of saying whether it would be adapted to a remand centre or if it was looking at other options for the men-only, minimum to low-medium security prison established in 1910.

"We want to take our time to ensure we get this right for our staff and the people we manage," the spokesman said last week.

If a proposal was put forward, the department would follow the standard consultation process agreed with staff and their union, the Corrections Association of New Zealand, to ensure those affected had the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.

"As previously stated, it is not proposed that the prison close and the changes would not involve any staff jobs being lost."

Union vice-president Paul Dennehy said Corrections acting southern regional commissioner Chris O’Brien-Smith had met management and union representatives at the end of last year.

"She didn’t speak to staff, mainly because there wasn’t, and still isn’t, an actual document stating what the department’s proposal is," he said.


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