Celia Lashlie presented a Guest Lecture at the Treasury on 7 June 2005.
Celia Lashlie was the first woman in New Zealand to work in a custodial role in a male prison, starting at Rimutaka Prison in Upper Hutt in December 1985. Appointed Penal Division EEO Co-ordinator in March 1990, a role that included the task of getting female officers safely into Paremoremo Maximum Security Prison after male officers refused to work with women.
Celia spent three and a half years as Manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison. During this time, two productions were undertaken at the prison in association with the Christchurch Arts Festival – a significant experience for all involved in terms of it’s potential to change the lives of the women involved and the community attitude towards them.
In May 2000, Celia completed He Kete Pokai for the Department of Corrections, a document focusing on the management of female offenders in custody. The document identifies the need to manage women in prison differently to male inmates in order to maximise the potential benefits of the imposition of a term of imprisonment on them. In May 2000, Celia was employed on a short-term contract for Specialist Education Services in Nelson as the Area Manager. In April 2001, her contract was terminated abruptly when she spoke at a public meeting held in Wellington of a composite child, 5 years old, blond haired and blue-eyed, destined to come to prison after murdering someone. Spent the remainder of 2001 undertaking some projects within the Nelson area looking at interventions that might allow the 5 year old to deviate from the path to prison. The Report was released in March 2003. In March 2002, Celia wrote a book about the connection between the 5 year old child and those who end up in prison. The book, ‘The Journey to Prison. Who Goes and Why’, was launched on 1 August 2002. It has become a best seller!!