Sexual assault claim at Wiri Prison

  • 03/10/2015
Sexual assault claim at Wiri Prison

By Paul Purcell

A transgender woman has allegedly been raped by her cellmate at the male-only Wiri Prison.

The inmate says the attack took place overnight on Thursday at Auckland South Corrections Facility, prompting dual investigations by police and the Department of Corrections.

Queer and trans activist group No Pride in Prisons says she was moved out of protective segregation on Wednesday and into the general population.

The transgender woman was assaulted by seven men, and was later raped, the group claim.

"The Department of Corrections knows that she is a trans woman, as they are administering her hormone treatment," No Pride in Prisons spokeswoman Emilie Rakete said today.

"But she is being kept in a men's facility anyway.

"She should never have been placed in a men's facility and should never have been placed back with the general population.

"She absolutely should never have been locked in a cell overnight with a man following a physical assault."

A police official said they were looking into it but had nothing further to add.

Corrections is also launching its own investigation into the sexual assault but has elected to refer to the transgender victim as a male.

"Staff acted immediately to support the prisoner when he disclosed what had happened," Northern Regional Commissioner Jeanette Burns said in a statement.

"He was seen by Health Services staff without delay and moved to the health unit to monitor his wellbeing."

Wiri Prison came under fire earlier in the week after Labour's Kelvin Davis said there had been unreported beatings at the new centre.

He referred to an email from an inmate's wife alleging the serious beating at Auckland South Corrections Facility.

"No one is searched going in and out of visits - just what he describes as a 'half-arsed' pat-down," the email says.

British outsourcing company Serco has been criticised for problems at the Mt Eden remand centre and the Department of Corrections has taken over its management.

Serco's Scott McNairn says the Wiri claims have not been raised with the company and anyone with specific allegations should notify Serco or Corrections.