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Rimutaka director apologises for denying prison visits

A terminally ill man says the government committed a human rights violation by refusing visitation rights to his son in prison.

The father, who the Times-Age has agreed not to name, feared he would die before he saw his son.

However, after inquiries by the Times-Age yesterday Rimutaka Prison has permitted the man an urgent visit today on compassionate grounds.

Rimutaka Prison director Dennis Goodin admitted the refusals “should not have happened”, and has apologised for denying
the man visitation rights.

The father said he had not seen his son since he was remanded in custody from a Wairarapa address four months ago.

“I’m terminally ill, and because of what’s going on, I want to see my son.

“I do not know how much time I have left, and he is in there as he couldn’t cope with me dying.

“Yes, he committed a crime and has to be accountable for his actions, but they can’t breach his human rights.”

In-person visits with family are a human right for prisoners.

Goodin said that as soon as he became aware of the refusals, he instructed staff to approve a visit on compassionate grounds.

“A visit has been approved and will be taking place tomorrow [Saturday, November 26].

“A member of my team has also contacted the prisoner’s father to apologise at what must be a difficult time for him and the family.

“I understand that the father had visited the prison asking about

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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