A group of ”copycat” prisoners protested at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison yesterday by refusing to return to their cells after a fire forced an evacuation – less than a week after prisoners staged a rooftop protest.
One prisoner lit a fire in his cell around 6.30pm which meant the surrounding cells were evacuated.
The prisoners then refused to return to their cells.
”Staff talked with the prisoners throughout the evening and encouraged them to comply with instructions. Our intention was to resolve the incident peacefully and safely,” Department of Corrections chief executive Ray Smith said today.
The prisoners surrendered by midnight.
”This was a copycat attempt by the prisoners, who didn’t think their actions, or the consequences, through.”
Last week, five prisoners spent more than 24 hours on the roof of Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison after one prisoner encouraged others to join him in a protest over the change in his security classification.
All now face disciplinary action and possible criminal charges.