Waikeria prison riot: Negotiation with prisoners to surrender fails, despite kaumātua plan

The prisoner stand-off on the roof of Waikeria Prison is set to enter its fourth day, despite promises from the non-complaint 17 inmates they were considering surrender.

The 17 inmates still resisting capture on the roof of Waikeria Prison remain without food after starting a riot more than 48 hours ago.

A Department of Corrections spokesperson said this afternoon that overnight the men had agreed with negotiators to surrender if they were able to speak with kaumātua.

“An operation involving support from our advanced control and restraint staff was planned to enable this to happen safely, however [it] did not resolve the situation,” the spokesperson said.

“We would like to express our thanks to the kaumātua for their efforts and willingness to assist with the safe resolution of the incident.”

The prisoners have been up on the roof of the high-security section of the Waikato prison since midday Tuesday, when they rioted and lit several fires in the exercise yard.

Corrections say the prisoners remain within the secure perimeter of the “top jail” facility and “there is no risk to public safety”.

Initially, 21 prisoners were on the roof of the prison after the riot, but four have since surrendered.

“We are continuing to engage with the prisoners to encourage them to cease their action,” a Corrections spokesperson said.

“We are concerned that they are putting themselves at significant risk by remaining where they are. Damage to the building is significant.”

A third of the prison’s bed capacity has been destroyed.

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