New Zealand’s violent inmates to enjoy yoga at supermax jail

Violent inmates inside New Zealand’s only maximum security prison are set to enjoy a sensory garden, yoga and personal showers. 

The Auckland Prison has undergone a $300 million upgrade to offer the male inmates more ‘humane conditions’ and facilities such as individual televisions and kiosks to order birthday cards.

The new facility has been designed to assist in the rehabilitation of inmates, most of who have mental health issues, the New Zealand Herald reported. 

A sensory garden (pictured) is a key feature of the new $300 million maximum security Auckland Prison

The sensory garden for New Zealand's most violent offenders features decorative wall art 

The sensory garden for New Zealand’s most violent offenders features decorative wall art 

‘It’s decent, it’s humane, it offers treatment facilities for our most disturbed people and at it’s base level and most importantly, this is a very safe facility for the prisoners, our staff and of course for the New Zealand public,’ Department of Corrections chief executive Ray Smith said. 

The sensory garden, a first for a New Zealand jail, is complete with a rock water feature, decorative artwork, grass and paved footpaths, reportedly allowing prisoners time to reflect.

The new facility, unveiled this month ahead of it receiving its first inmates, also boasts an indoor basketball court, televisions in most of the single-only cells, training rooms and computers for inmates to use.

The televisions feature free-to-air channels as well as special internal channels which show documentaries on yoga instruction. 

Prisoners can also order birthday cards and drinks through kiosks, which are operated by individuals using their fingerprints, and get their hands dirty in a seed propagation garden.  

The cells, which have external windows with horizontal bars and individual showers and toilets, are also about 30 per cent larger than the previous facility.   

The old facility at Paremoremo (pictured), in Auckland, was constructed in the late 1960s

The old facility at Paremoremo (pictured), in Auckland, was constructed in the late 1960s

Mr Smith said each of the new facilities were necessary.  

‘If you just take things off people, you leave them with nothing to lose,’ he said.  

There are 68 mental health beds, with figures revealing more than 90 per cent of prisoners have mental health or substance abuse issues. 

The old facility at Paremoremo was constructed in the late 1960s for a ‘very different time and purpose’ and Mr Smith said the old units were past their use-by date.   

‘Technology has changed, as has the way we deliver rehabilitation and support to prisoners with mental health issues,’ Mr Smith said.

The Auckland Prison has 681 prisoners, with maximum security inmates, totally about 260, spending about 20 hours a days in their cells.