New Zealand to use pepper spray to tackle prison inmates

Sunday, November 28, 2010

AUCKLAND - Police officials in 10 prisons in New Zealand have been trained to use pepper sprays to tackle rowdy inmates.

Over 300 staff from the 10 prisons were trained for a period of 12 months on how to use two types of sprays, the New Zealand Herald reported Sunday.

This was part of a Department of Corrections project that aims to determine whether additional training or personal protective equipment would improve the safety of prison officers.

One type of spray can be deployed without having to enter the cell - it could be sprayed under the door, through windows or vents. It does not require accuracy to affect the prisoner within the cell as it acts like a fog dispersed within an enclosed space.

The spray targets the respiratory tract and causes the prisoner to cough excessively, Prison Services general manager Brendan Anstiss said.

“The other type being trialled can be used for cell extractions or in an open air environment, for example a recreation yard. It is sprayed directly into the face and causes the eyes to shut.”

The spray, however, will not be used against pregnant prisoners, prisoners on a roof or “at height”, those who cannot be continually observed or those who are restrained.

Prisoners will be monitored once sprayed and medical assistance sought if necessary.

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