Working, studying and other activities on the inside

Physical exercise

How often can I exercise?

Corrections Act 2004, ss 69, 70

You have the right to at least one hour of exercise every day. You’re entitled to this even if you’re confined to your cell as a punishment (cell confinement).

Time that you spend working outside may count as your exercise time.

The prison can decide you won’t have exercise on a particular day if you’re going to the courts and it isn’t practical to let you have exercise time. However, you can’t be denied exercise in this way for more than two days in a row.

Can I exercise outside?

Corrections Act 2004, s 70

Yes, you’re entitled to exercise outside, as long as the weather is suitable.

However, “outside” exercise will often mean that you’re in an area with four solid walls but no roof. The type of exercise yard you’re in, including how big and how open it is, will depend on the type of prison you’re in and your security classification.

What types of exercise can I do?

Prison Operations Manual, F.13

Most exercise time will be in the exercise yard. This isn’t a large space so the type of exercise is limited to what can be done within the space. There may be activities available, such as gym equipment and basketball hoops.

If you want to take part in physical activities you have to fill in a form and have a health check to make sure this will be safe for you. This will usually be done as part of your induction to the prison when you first arrive.

If the prison has a separate gym, you may need to put your name on a register to be able to use it. Access to the gym will be controlled by the gym manager, who is usually an experienced prison officer. If you’re interested in using the gym, talk to one of the prison officers in your unit.

In some units, some physical exercise is compulsory. For example, if you’re a member of the Māori Focus Unit you’ll have to attend kapa haka. If you can’t take part in compulsory exercise in your unit because of health problems, you’ll need to get signed off by one of the medical nurses.

Do I have to exercise every day?

Whether you choose to exercise during your unit’s exercise time is up to you. You can stay in your cell instead if you want to. However, cell checks or cell searches often take place during exercise time, and so you may have to leave your cell while this is going on.

Can I exercise while I’m being held in a police jail because I’m going to court?

Corrections Act 2004, s 69

Although in general every prisoner has the right to at least one hour of exercise a day, you can be denied exercise time on a particular day if you’re being held in a police jail because you’re going to court and it’s not practical to let you have exercise time because of that. However, you can’t be denied exercise in this way for more than two days in a row.

Can I exercise while on segregation or cell confinement?

Yes. Every prisoner has the right to have at least one hour of exercise a day, even if they’ve been separated from the other prisoners.

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Working, studying and other activities on the inside

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