Prison staff take refuge as inmates fire homemade gun

Staff at a Christchurch prison were forced to take refuge in a workshop when inmates armed with a home made pipe gun fired missiles in a protest over contraband searches.

The incident happened at Christchurch Men’s Jail on Monday.

The weapon had been recovered but the shooters had still to be found, the Corrections Department’s Southern assistant regional manager Ian Bourke said today.

He said the alarm was raised after inmates in the Kotuku Unit reported shots landing on the roof of the building.

“It appears a prisoner or prisoners used a pipe and an air compressor in the (engineering) workshop to fire projectiles at a unit in the prison,” Mr Bourke said.

“I won’t give specifics as to how this was done for obvious security reasons.”

Mr Bourke said the attack on the prison was in reaction to routine contraband searches that were happening within the unit.

He said staff took refuge in the workshop during the incident but no staff or prisoners were injured.

The prison went into lockdown and police were called to the scene.

“The department is committed to protecting the safety and security of staff and prisoners and we are concerned that an incident such as this occurred.”

Mr Bourke said the engineering workshop had been operating for many years and there had been very few incidents.

“The engineering workshop gives prisoners the opportunity to gain skills they may use when released,” Mr Bourke said.

“The department is committed to reducing reoffending and research shows that prisoners who find meaningful employment in the community upon release are less likely to reoffend.”

He said police and the Corrections Department were investigating the incident.



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