INDEPENDENT NEWS

Inmates To Work Their Way Back Into The Community

Published: Tue 22 Aug 2000 02:32 PM
More Inmates To Work Their Way Back Into The Community
The Minister of Corrections, the Hon Matt Robson, today announced that the Release to Work programme for prison inmates on minimum security would be expanded to improve their safe reintegration back into the community.
"Over 90% of prison inmates will one day return to the community. I want to make sure that when they do, we monitor them and we prepare them for work not the dole. A proportion of the wages they earn will pay back the cost of rehabilitation and any outstanding family support or fines.
"Placing inmates in real jobs after a sentence is a natural progression from the inmate employment schemes we run inside the prisons.
"If we are to stand a real chance of reducing re-offending we need to re-integrate inmates back into society in the last few months of their sentence, not wait until the day of release when its too late.
“The scheme has been very successful in the Hawke’s Bay where about 15 inmates have been working in local orchards and pack-houses. They've developed skills, improved self-esteem and in some cases gone on to full time work."
Between 60 –70 inmates will be placed on Release to Work at any one time. The Release to Work scheme has been running since 1961.
“When we look overseas and at our own experience in New Zealand I have no doubt that Release to Work helps reduce re-offending by providing inmates with training opportunities, job experience and work record.
“I would like to see the Hawke’s Bay experience repeated at two or three other locations around the country, especially in communities where we can fill gaps in the labour market," says Matt Robson.
Only inmates on minimum security can apply in the last few months of their sentence. They must meet administrative guidelines that establish their general suitability and pass subjective criteria, which includes the nature of their offence, their behaviour record and the impact that their being released to work may have on any of their victims.
Ends

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