One-way glass used by prison guards to keep an eye on inmates was installed back-to-front at the country's brand new maximum security jail, one of its most notorious former residents has revealed.
The error was discovered during testing at Auckland Prison's new $300m wing at Paremoremo last year, before the prisoners moved to their new facility in October.
Long-serving prisoner Arthur Taylor revealed the blunder on his Facebook page yesterday, calling the facility a "white elephant".
"Here's a story Corrections won't like you seeing," he wrote. "When the new Pare Max was opened with much fanfare by Kelvin Davis and Corrections top brass in August 2018 ... it wasn't really "opened"...the first prisoners couldn't be moved in for several more months because the one way windows on the cell doors [that they observe the prisoners through] had been installed the WRONG WAY!"
"That's right the prisoners would have been able to look out but the guards not in…" he said.
Corrections confirmed Taylor's allegations, but said it did not delay the move.
It said it identified that a film, applied to the glass panels of booths used by staff to observe prisoners in areas such as the yards and dayrooms, had been applied incorrectly.
"This was a quick process to remove ... and is exactly what our testing was designed to pick up."
Taylor also alleged that a unit manager had got locked in a maxi-cell and was able to escape from it using a broom handle.
"All this had to be fixed at a cost of several million $ [sic]. Talk about incompetence and waste of taxpayer resources..... Just "business as usual" for Corrections unfortunately."
Acting Prison Director David Pattinson said that part of the post was incorrect. He said before the prison opened, there was an occasion where a staff member used a piece of building material to open a door while inside an "industries facilities space" - a classroom or workshop space used to deliver employment related training.
"It is not possible for this to be replicated in the now-operational facility," Pattinson said.
The new facility was built to replace the dilapidated old buildings, now empty. It was initially due to open in March 2018, but was delayed several times.
At the time, Corrections said it was a big complex project and unforeseen delays had developed. Those included testing of state-of-art electronic systems and ensuring staff were trained to use them before the first prisoners were transferred.
It only agreed on an opening date after it was satisfied with every aspect involving the safe and secure movement of the prisoners, Corrections said.
The new facility had 260 places. The cells have showers and are 9.09sq m, compared with old 5.81sq m cells.
All cells are on the ground floor, with staff areas above, compared with the old three-level buildings which created stair-movement safety problems.
There was also a purpose-built mental health treatment unit with 65 beds.