Corrections reveals more info on Mt Eden prisoner's trip back to bail address

Source: 1News

Corrections has released more information about the Mt Eden prisoner’s trip back to his Waikato bail address on September 8.

It was revealed this week that the man had tested positive for Covid-19 after being on bail in the Waikato town of Whakatīwai, near Kaiaua.

Three of his household contacts also tested positive, including a child who was symptomatic while at a local school, which saw the Government send the community into a "bespoke" Level 4 for five days to contain the outbreak. 

Neil Beales, Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer told 1News the man is believed to have been picked up by his sister when he was released from prison.

Beales also confirmed the four stops, which include two private addresses in Mt Albert and Māngere, a Pōkeno supermarket, and one stop on the side of the road, were not essential.

“The family member that was supposed to pick him up should have been his sister, my information is that it was.

"The bail conditions were that he was to go straight back to the bail address, and that is what he should have done although we now know from our electronic monitoring data that four stops were made along the way."

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 28:  General views of Mt Eden Prison on July 28, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. The correctional facility, which is managed by Serco, has been in the spotlight following reports of prisoner abuse.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Beales said the prisoner was Covid-free when on his release, and due to strict Corrections protocol, he doesn’t believe he caught the virus in prison.

"Somewhere between the 8th and him coming back into custody that’s where he’s contracted Covid. Our processes haven’t fallen down," he said.

In the wake of this issue, Corrections is looking at making a new rule for those who are picking up prisoners to be from the same alert level as their destination.

"We can’t stop people from going home. What we want to do is make sure that if they are getting picked up by somebody that that somebody is coming from a level that they are going back to."

To date negative results have been returned from testing of close contacts among prison staff, other prisoners, police and court staff.