Bad food, cameras in the showers, clothes that don't fit, cold water for washing, dodgy toilets, and poor healthcare access - that's life in Ngawha prison.
And there's more.
A report from the prison's inspectorate also found insect infestations, leaky toilets and a poorly-placed longdrop, poor quality exercise yards, and limited access to rehabilitation programmes.
The issues raised echoed concerns in a report earlier this year from the Office of the Ombudsman, whose responsibilities include monitoring and investigating prison conditions and treatment of inmates.
Both reports stemmed from inspections made in 2018 and have prompted a claim from Corrections minister Kelvin Davis that our prison system has turned a corner and that a safer New Zealand lies in treating inmates with humanity and respect.
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It's a position that sets up Davis and the government for an election year scrap over law and order, with Opposition leader Simon Bridges increasingly pushing a "tough on crime" position.
Davis told the Advocate: "Tough on crime rhetoric just doesn't work. If we treat people like animals, what do we expect when they are released?
"It doesn't make the country any safer. All those people in there are going to come out eventually."
Under Davis, prisons will no longer be animal farms. He said he had assurances the 17 recommendations for change made in the prison inspectorate's report had been addressed.
And the changes will keep coming. Prison food, for example, will no longer be endless servings of mince or soggy cereal.
A new menu was introduced three weeks ago. "It's received good feedback from prisoners."
Davis said one prisoner was so taken by the change in food he turned the prison's standard "complaints" form into a "compliments" form.
It's a switch from the inspectorate's report, in which issues with food spanned breakfast through to dinner. Inmates started the day with soggy cereal for breakfast, frequent servings of mince for dinner and - according to the Ombudsman - evening meals served mid-afternoon because of staff shortages.
"During our inspection, we saw prisoners who did not eat their breakfast because they considered it unappetising," said the report.
For Davis, the issues at Ngawha prison - properly called the Northern Regional Corrections Facility - will have particular relevance. The prison outside Kaikohe in the Far North is in the heart of his Te Tai Tokerau electorate and is home to a disproportionate number of fellow Ngāpuhi.
Maori are excessively represented across the justice system and in the prison population. Labour have pledged to cut the prison population by 30 per cent in 15 years, with policy placing particular focus on Maori inmates.
This year has seen the prison system's most significant change in generations with Davis' launch of Hōkai Rangi, a strategy designed to place a Te Ao Māori at the centre of Corrections' work.
It was being designed with Maori and will be rolled out over five years with the aim of reducing offending by "treating the person and not just their crime".
Davis said humanity and respect lay at the centre of Hōkai Rangi. It could be seen at its simplest through Corrections now referring to a prison "population", rather than a "muster" - a word more usually associated with animals.
"We want to change the way Ngawha is operating to be more conducive to rehabilitation, to cater for Maori needs and by reducing overall population."
The number of prisoners has already dropped through a Corrections programme of targeting bottlenecks in the system. No law changes have been made with reductions coming from untangling administrative issues such as assistance with bail or parole processes for the two-thirds of prisoners who can't read or write.
"If the prison population trajectory had continued we would now have 12,000 people in our facilities. We've averted a catastrophe. We can't afford to spend $1 billion on new prisons every three years."
In contrast, the current population is 10,200 inmates.
Davis said problems identified at Ngawha prison reflected the pressure of about 650 inmates living in a facility built for half that number.
"Obviously the facility isn't coping with the number of people in it." It was expected reducing prisoner numbers would then ease the physical wear on institutions.
Ngawha prison director Michael Rongo said the issues raised in the critical reports had been dealt with and a new system of secondary checks was intended to ensure they didn't arise again.
The prison had also resolved earlier staffing issues, allowing for better access to rehabilitation and reintegration services for inmates. A longdrop that had been placed close to a stream for inmates working outside the confines of the prison had been replaced with a chemical toilet, with testing done to ensure there had been no contamination.
Ngati Hine leader Pita Tipene was supportive of the changes at Ngawha prison and Davis' direction as Minister of Corrections.
"We have to provide conditions for them that are respectful. You treat them with respect, you get respect. If we're going to treat them like animals, they're going to live up to that."
He said Corrections had been "very responsive" to approaches from Ngati Hine and a greater involvement between the iwi and inmates.