July 8: A riot squad has been dispatched to a Northland prison after inmates staged a protest today.
Unrest broke out this afternoon at the Northland Region Corrections Facility at Ngawha, near Kaikohe, where prisoners started a fire and caused damage to a number of cells.
ONE News understands that they were subjected to a lock-down this afternoon as a result of a prison officer shortage.
General acting manager of prisons Jeanette Burns said a group of around 20 prisoners in a single unit began protesting, refused to comply with staff instructions and refusing to be locked in their cells.
It began at around 2pm and led to prisoners being locked into their cells an hour later. Once there, they lit small rubbish fires.
Burns told ONE News tonight that the unrest was controlled within 30 minutes; however a riot squad, known as the advanced control and restraint unit, was dispatched from Auckland to deal with the prisoners.
Corrections is planning to separate some of the prisoners by relocating some to different parts of the prison, or moved other prisons.