The Department of Corrections has announced it is completely removing and banning tie-down beds from all New Zealand prisons.

In 2016, Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier released a report, which criticised the standard and management of at-risk patients.

He described one case where an inmate was restrained for 16 hours a day for 37 consecutive days. In which Boshier believed it breached the Convention against Torture.

"They failed to seek medical approval to secure the prisoner to the tie-down bed 36 out of 37 times. Corrections' own rules require a new medical approval is issued before new confinement."


Since 2009, there have been 109 cases where tie-down beds have been used.

While Boshier is pleased with the ban, he says it wasn't fast enough. He felt there was a view by Corrections that there was no other way other than to use the restraining beds.

"It was a shame that it took our report to force the situation to change," Boshier said.

Chief Custodial Officer Neil Beales said the tie-down beds haven't been used since the end of 2016.

"The use of tie-down beds was always a last resort to protect prisoners from escalating extreme and prolific self-harm or where their behaviour posed a threat to their life or the safety of staff and other prisoners," Beales said.

Beales said they will work on more support and training for staff who deal with prisoners who are at-risk of self harm or suicide.

However, Boshier feels there isn't a "functional" and "healthy" relationship between Corrections and mental health services.

"It's not good enough that we have disturbed and self harming prisoners who are not getting the proper mental health services they need," Beales said.


Corrections have recently opened a new $300 million redevelopment of Auckland Prison's maximum security facility to better respond to prisoners with more serious mental health needs.