Everything that’s wrong with…

Jeremy Lightfoot - another import with accountability issues

Corrections National Commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot – another import with accountability issues

It is inarguable that the Department of Corrections is one of the most dysfunctional of our Government agencies and with alarming regularity we are seeing astonishing examples of this.  The recent inquest in to the death of Jai Davis gave the public a rare insight in to the levels of incompetence and attitudes that dominate the ranks of Corrections staff.  That any one person could have such disrespect for human life, but that the entire Department of Corrections has this attitude something that should be of deep concern to us all.  All credit to Roger Brooking for not letting Corrections, police and IPCA bury this as they had wished to.

Some of what came out at that inquest was frightening.  A corrections officer with 22 years experience admitting that she did not know that a medical officer was a doctor would be astonishing in any other agency but typical within Corrections.  Records being falsified, staff refusing to give evidence at the inquest because they might incriminate themselves.  The litany of medical and custodial incompetence goes beyond poor training and education and speaks to the core problems and attitudes that have dominated Corrections for decades.  As long as the utterly biased Corrections Inspectorate is permitted to continue its existence and indulge in systemic whitewashing of legitimate complaints there will be no accountability and this sort of thing will continue to happen.  Perhaps they think that killing off the inmate population is the key to reducing re-offending.

Chris "I'm as honest as the day is long" Yearwood

Chris “I’m as honest as the day is long” Yarwood

Those bad attitudes are not confined to the jailors and can also be found alive and well within the ranks of probation staff.  One of the worst offices in the country is Feilding where incompentent and dishonest people who would never be employed elsewhere hide behind the guise of being human beings.

Unable to attract or hold on to staff there has been a subtle move to import staff from the UK.  In one office alone we find two examples of people with bad attitudes and Chris Yarwood, a retired detective from the UK tells everyone he meets that he is “as honest as the day is long”.  Such self professed honesty is akin to second hand car dealer John who feels the need to call himself “Honest John’s Car Sales”.  Yarwood is in fact as bent as they come and brings to the job of Service Manager at Napier Probation a serious attitude problem that reflects down the ranks.

Paul Grundy - epitomizes everything that's wrong with Corrections

Paul Grundy – epitomizes everything that’s wrong with Corrections

Working under Yarwood’s management is another UK import and British Army reject Paul Grundy.  The only language Grundy knows is confrontation and disrespect.  He is lazy and only does the minimum of work to keep ahead of the pack, this is reflected in some of the reports he writes.  For example some months ago he wrote a brief report on an address in rural Hawke’s Bay, purporting that the property was unsuitable for electronic monitoring because there was no Vodafone signal.  However when a local lawyer and technician went out to the property this claim proved to be entirely false.  Another reflection of the inaccurate reports that probation staff so frequently place before the courts.

As long as the Department of Corrections is littered with such human garbage and limited intellect staff management will continue to devote a disproportionate amount of time and energy in to covering up the consequences that these staff create on an almost daily basis.

All those named in this article were invited to comment but have not done so.

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11 Responses to Everything that’s wrong with…

  1. Ovicula says:

    I like the way you write. Kia kaha.

  2. Susan Barriball says:

    Accountability, this is what my family and the family of Jai Davis are asking for. Jai died 4 months after my brother, both were on remand at OCF. Lack of medical treatment and over sight in both cases, and the Coroner sited sub optimal care on 2 counts regarding my brothers death. However, there has never been any accountability, other than Nursing staff at OCF being reminded and further trained in the importance of remembering to give their patients/inmates the medications, that were prescribed by prison Doctors.
    I still have trouble comprehending that one, nurses that need to be re trained to know to give medications?? Sorry, if they fail to give meds to their patients, they should not be nurses.
    I agree with Initiative that while The Prison Inspectorates are working for Corrections, they are totally incapable of being critical of Corrections staff and of their failings. Impossible to be critical of the ‘hand that feeds you’.
    I attended most of the recent inquest regarding Jai. What I and his mother and others inside the Court heard was horrific stuff. Total contempt for a human life. As unbelievable and incomprehensible a lot of the stuff was, sadly we knew it was true. I often looked around the court room, and witnessed disbelief and horror on some of the reporters faces, how quiet the room was at times, and stoically and quietly Jais mother sat.
    Nor did the majority of Corrections staff care enough to tell the truth while under oath, own up or be accountable. Some staff
    even had enough disregard to lie under oath and then offer condolences to Jais family. How am I so sure they were lying?. cctv footage does not lie, and a lot of cctv footage does not tally up with Corrections staff statements.
    Some Corrections staff told the truth, one nurse spoke about how dysfunctional the Nursing Unit was and that she had warned superiors there were likely to be deaths at OCF. Thank goodness for Nurses like her, but she no longer works at OCF.
    Until Corrections staff attitudes change, and the culture of how the prisons are run and staff held accountable, there will more unnecessary deaths within New Zealand prisons.

    • GTW says:

      Historically nursing jobs at Corrections have been taken by those who cannot have failed or cannot hack it working in mainstream hospitals and the like. The advantage to a nursing job in Corrections is that when there is a screw up it is easier to bury it and hide it behind barbed wire. This has happened time again over decades and the disrespect for human life has just as often been buried by an equally dysfunctional inspectorate that only pays one piper.
      For the first time Corrections have been unable to bury what has happened at OCF and instead of doing what is right and honest by fronting up to their mistakes, continue to close ranks and hope that they will once again get away with it.

      • Waltzing Matilda says:

        The NZ prison system is littered with staff and management who are unemployable anywhere else, have no respect for humanity, limited intellect and are utter bullies.
        What is particularly frightening is that these people inter marry and their entire world revolves around the culture of disrespecting those under their care.
        But by far the most alarming aspect of this culture is that it is these same unemployable elsewhere people who rise to the ranks of management so is it any wonder there is such resistance to change?

  3. Let's Dance says:

    W.M with you there, Whanganui prison system seems to be full of bullies, People that are lacking in self confidences , certainly aren’t helped at all by some staff , they prefer to criticize til they break an lose hope.
    They wear that uniform in total disgrace of the true meaning : Corrections officer are responsible for the safe, secure and humane containment of prisoners and for managing them in a way that contributes to reducing re-offending. Whanganui Prison retrain your disgusting Staff !

    Supporting offender management
    Undertake sentence management with assigned prisoners
    Encourage and facilitate participation in rehabilitation programmes.

    Support other staff in the application of sentence management
    Facilitate dispute resolution for prisoner grievances
    Coach Prisoners and apply pro-social modelling behaviours and active management
    Carry out formal “At Risk” & “Immediate Needs” assessments as well as induction interviews.

    Time they re-read their Job description. School ground Bullies ! You’re a disgrace to that uniform !

  4. Peter Miller says:

    Health care at OCF has been an issue for quite some time. In 2010 the MOs (for the benefit of of a senior CO, MO stands for Doctors), did not renew their contract, citing nursing practices that would lead to patient death.
    The replacement MOs were Doctors, with little experience in addiction or mental health issues.
    As far as I can conclude the bad nursing practices continued, eg poor or no records (impossible to tell if meds were actually given), missing drugs ,conditions listed on Med Tec not addressed, and
    downright misleading statements to Courts and Police.
    This will not change until the culture changes.
    While the managers fail to manage their staff, the staff will continue with their bad practices, Guards and medical staff will have no accountability, and patients/inmates will continue being treated with disregard, and contempt and ‘duty of care’ will be non existent.
    In trying to find out what went wrong for Richard Barriball while he was in OCF we got one document from Julie Miller which was surprising in its honesty in which Ms Miller (no relation) states Corrections can under section 6 of the IOA with hold information in order to prejudice the course of justice (obviously a slip up but an honest one).

    • Initiative says:

      Julie Miller is the mistress and head witch of cover ups within Corrections. She is completely incapiable of anything that even respembles honesty and spends her days trying to work out how to be as obstructive as possible. She sees it as her personal mission in life to delay and obstruct all information requests and generally put smiley faces on each and every cock up that Corrections makes

  5. peter miller says:

    Comments made by corrections union leader on national radio about no one being charged in relation to Jai Davis’s death made me shudder.The ignorant uninformed (or plain stupid) guy , roughly paraphrased , said Jai got what he deserved, he lied to corrections staff and had opportunity to come clean, and he (the union guy) was happy with the just outcome!!!…like his union members didn’t lie, not fulfil their responsibilities or come clean?
    Until that sort of attitude is dead and buried corrections is doomed to be a dysfunctional failure.
    And in another cynical move an OCF inmate contracted meningitis and was eventually sent to hospital, once it was clear the poor guy was not going to survive corrections discharged him, their version of why is so he did not need to be handcuffed to a bed with a guard, one consequence of his being discharged is that he did not die in corrections custody, so no inquest is required. I hope for his family and all other guests of corrections that the coroner’s office sees through this and holds an inquest.

  6. piglet says:

    Time to look at Corrections per se and the Public to know the truth

    The behaviour of staff are often worse than the people on sentence, now that would make an interesting story to bring to light

    How to do this…

    therein lies the problem,when dealing with the Department Of Corruptions

    But we shall find it
    Just takes some courage and integrity

    from all who know the truth

  7. lee says:

    They will never change, they all lie to cover each others backs, they don’t want to help.

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