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LETTERS: ‘Prison life is not luxurious’

Friday 14 January 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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LETTERS: ‘Prison life is not luxurious’

Dear Editor, in response to Jacqueline Ngatai-Cowan’s letter in CI News January 8, 2022. Firstly, I want to thank her for her concerns regarding her partner’s situation at Arorangi Prison and his medical condition.

I am fully aware of the circumstances involving this case and as Minister responsible, I have every confidence in my staff at Corrections, that they are doing what is required of them within the boundaries of the law.

She raised a number of issues which I consider valid however, at the end of the day, her primary concern was what she believed was his deteriorating health status which I am odds to accept as I have been advised by medical staff that his situation is not life threatening.

One has to accept that prison life is not luxurious and one can expect there will be elements of concerns regarding inmates treatment and conditions however, staff too, have an obligation to society as well as the inmates themselves to ensure the principles of justice are followed and upheld and their wellbeing is taken into consideration as well.

I myself, am living testament to this as I have lived the prison life for many years suffering many hardships and ridicule within the community but I’ve gotten over that and have committed my life to ensuring inmates today do not receive the same treatment as I and others did in the past. That is the reason why I personally go to the prison twice daily in the early morning and early evenings to ensure inmates and staff concerns are addressed. I have also taken the time to ensure inmates are treated fairly throughout so I take exception to any criticism directed at my staff or the Prison Service for the sake of one inmate.

To compare the case of a person charged of a serious crime and released on bail is intolerable but that decision was made through the Courts and not by Corrections as I understand. Again, to compare your mother’s situation to your partner’s one insinuates “finger pointing and blame” towards medical staff which I am not at liberty to comment. Your concerns should be directed to Health.

I sympathise with your family situation as I do with all the inmates and their families affected by imprisonment but the bottom line is “the law is the law and if you do the crime, you do the time”. Might I suggest that you take legal advice on this matter, to consider making an application to the Court as to whether or not, they are prepared to agree to a variation of his sentence.

I wish you and your family all the best.

George Maggie Angene

Minister for Corrective Services