A prisoner has died at the Hawke's Bay Regional Prison this afternoon.

Prison director George Massingham said as with all deaths in custody police were notified and the death had been referred to the Coroner for investigation and determination of the cause of death.

"Staff made every effort to save him and our thoughts are with his family and friends. Prisoners and staff have also been affected by the man's death and will be provided support," he said.

All deaths in custody were also investigated by the independent Corrections Inspectorate and advised to the Office of the Ombudsman.

A police spokesperson said police responded to a sudden death at the prison on Mangaroa Rd at 1.14pm today.

The death was not being treated as suspicious and had been referred to the coroner, they said.

A St John Ambulance service spokesperson said they dispatched one ambulance to the Hawke's Bay Regional Prison this afternoon but couldn't provide any further details.

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