“Wellington on a plate – prisoners missing out”
The Howard League has concerns for the prisoners who have been removed from either cooking or serving at this year’s
Wellington on a plate evenings at Rimutaka prison, following the escape of Phillip Smith.
The escape last year of Phillip Smith has led to Corrections stopping a huge number of prisoners going to work. Although
Smith was on day release and not release to work, Corrections has made the arbitrary decision to stop all prisoners from
working outside the wire who have sentences with more than two years remaining.
Many of these prisoners had been working for years and were considered model employees by their bosses. They had
developed self-esteem and had a purpose, and were preparing for rehabilitation into society. Then, with no warning, they
were all pulled off their jobs. This massive, arbitrary over-reaction to Smith’s escape is completely uncalled for, says
Howard League spokesperson Madeleine Rose. It has caused immense suffering to the prisoners who have lost their jobs.
These prisoners are now facing depression, confusion and boredom.
Wellington on a Plate at Rimutaka is an excellent initiative for many prisoners, but, for those prisoners removed from
working on it, the Howard League calls for Corrections to revoke the temporary suspensions.
According to the Corrections website, this is a temporary suspension until the Chief Executive revokes it. These are
your model prisoners, says Rose, “it’s time the Chief executive revokes the temporary suspension of their work, stops
the suffering and gives them a chance to rebuild their self-esteem. ”