UPDATED: Mum 'disgusted' after son with mental health issues allegedly bashed in prison

Night Talk 24/10/2018
Credit: Getty.

Night Talk: After talking about Serco-run prisons in New Zealand, Mitch Harris received a call from Gaylene (which you can hear above).

According to Gaylene, her 20-year-old son committed a minor crime and was put into prison, along-side some of the worst criminals in New Zealand.

Prison officials allegedly promised Gaylene they would make sure her son, who has mental health issues, was put in a safe area of the prison. Gaylene says he wasn't, and claims he's now been bashed up behind bars.

Gaylene tells Harris she called Jacinda Ardern's office after hearing about the beating, and her son was then moved into a safe and secure part of the prison.

We'd like to thank Gaylene for her courage talking with Harris about this issue.

Serco would like to respond and clarify the following points;

"The caller claimed Serco is operating the Auckland Central Remand Prison. The ACRP became part of Mt Eden Corrections Facility in 2011. The Department of Corrections, not Serco, has managed MECF since July 2015. Serco has no connection to MECF. Serco manages Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility, which holds sentenced, not remand, male prisoners.
 
The caller claimed that in Serco recruitment advertisements we state that no qualifications are required. Kohuora employs people with diverse life experience and backgrounds. We want our Reintegration Officers (known as Corrections Officers in other prisons) to have integrity, good communication, resilience and empathy. We recruit people who have the ability to motivate and inspire others, have good problem-solving skills and can make timely and informed decisions. Applicants undergo stringent assessments before they can join our team.
 
New recruits complete a comprehensive 12-week initial training programme, providing a combination of theory and time to apply this in a prison environment. If at any point in their training they do not meet our standards, they will not graduate. Once Reintegration Officers graduate, they will continue to receive support and guidance, for what can be a very challenging role. Reintegration Officers have up to nine months to complete the New Zealand Certificate of Offender Management Level 3, a minimum requirement of the role and have on-going professional development obligations throughout their career.
 
Your host also made the comment, in reference to Benjamin Lightbody, that Serco “deliberately tried to lose the footage and cover up the problem…”. This was not the finding of the Privacy Commissioner. Serco denies any such allegation. The matter is now before the Human Rights Review Tribunal and we recommend your station leaves it to the HRRT to make its findings."

Night Talk with Mitch Harris, 8pm - 12am Monday-Thursday nights on RadioLIVE, and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.

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