Monday, 5 November 2012

Better be Home Soon

Better Be Home Soon - "Australia's Band :)"

6th of November 2012

It’s been a while since the last update. Since then:

  • the Mexico IPAC Conference has finished 
  • the LONG flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles to Auckland to Wellington has  been completed
  • and a brief tour of the Rimutaka Prison has occurred

Rimutaka Prison is set to open the country's first dementia unit later this year. Rimutaka Prison is in Upper Hutt, north of Wellington. It is one of New Zealand's largest prisons, and opened the country's first container-cell unit in 2010. Rimutaka Prison is New Zealand’s largest prison with capacity to accommodate up to 1216 minimum to maximum security male prisoners.  The prison was opened in 1967.

The New Zealand Government has set a corrections wide reform package with some significant and challenging targets. Prison Manager (not Warden or Superintendent) Richard Symonds explained that in order to meet the targets he, and all of corrections, had to rethink the way they do corrections – that a fine tuning around the edges exercise would not be enough to meet the targets. He was speaking the same words heard in Mexico from Jane Von Dadelszen, Director of Policy & Research, who presented on the reform.

Given the inmate population size Rimutaka have primary care health model that is staffed during the day. There is a GP and nurse on site. Acute care needs are supported through the local hospitals. They have identified the need for aged care assistance for their older offenders and they currently house them in a secure observation where inmates who are at risk of self harm are also kept. 

They are in the process of refurbishing a youth wing of Rimutuka (young inmates are no longer housed at the prison). An aged care team of corrections staff have consulted and the refurbishment will make the facility aged care friendly: level flooring, larger accommodation areas, and larger shower areas. It will be staffed like an aged care facility carers supported by nurses and also have a corrections officer as well. The facility is at the top of the hill overlooking the entire Rimutaka complex with view of the forest behind. Access to the outside: light fresh breeze and sun is easy for the older prisoners.

Currently they have some aged care providers who assist with transition into the community but there are some challenges. It would be good to revisit Rimutaka after the new aged care area is open; there system looks very good and appropriate for their population size. 

Yesterday on arriving  I took in a couple of views of the city:
The cable car

The City Views 

Te Papa Tongarewa - the museum

On my last night before returning home, Wellington seemingly treated me to a fireworks display! 
It is Guy Fawkes Night, still celebrated with fireworks in New Zealand (yes you can buy them in the super market!) Apart from hundreds of private fireworks one could see across the city from the 19th floor of the Travelodge – Wellington City Council also supported a huge display.....

It was quite spectacular to take this in after a lovely Chinese meal of Crispy Tan Beef – amazing. (slow cooked initially in a “secret” marinade – then – rolled in potato starch and deep fried – it was divine!

So this is my last entry, the study tour comes to an end. I am privileged, having:

  • had the opportunity for this educational and eye opening tour
  • met so many devoted and caring people
  • made some great friendships and contacts 
  • learnt so much from so many 
  • had time to reflect on learning’s and write and rewrite and then relearn from others around learnings previously made – this has been so amazing 
  • seen so many different custodial approaches
  • driven and toured over 3000 miles of great American area
  • seen so much of the history and touristy things you could take in on a trip like this 
  • only experienced 2 days of rain
  • not put on weight (yet to decide if I have lost any) 

I have of course missed:

  • Maree, Meg, Jack and Kate terribly. The conversations the company - just US! There was not a day go by that I did not think about how much they would have loved seeing what I was seeing. 
  • Jones and Anna – our dogs; I have stopped and talked to any dog that would listen
  • Family, friends and colleagues
  • Work – yes, being at work with colleagues and clients, being part of a team helping “our guys” (and girls) 
  • Aussies voices
  • Tap water – yes Melbourne tap water – the best in the world 
  • Lamb – American’s just don’t do Lamb
  • Vegemite – how did I forget to take a small jar!
  • The sounds and smells of home – gum trees, birds
  • The Spring Carnival - the sound of the call of the race
  • The Ranger
  • The Routine of life 

Now, the challenge lay ahead- to distil the learning’s into a plan  – how, to best provide care for this group of ageing people, who are incarcerated for their crime, but have the right to have their health care (aged care needs) met. 
To fine tune the write up and to share it with those who have shared.

Thanks again to Rose and Nat who helped set up this blog and to those of you who have sent messages along the way.

and finally ....

A Very special thanks to  Bryan and Dot Lipmann for your trust and your Trust's sponsorship of this educational tour. 

Signing off for the last time on this blog – Phill Goulding – 6th November 2012