21 February, 2013
Structured approach for young prisoners
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has officially opened a Young Offenders Unit at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison, which will deliver a much more structured approach to dealing with young prisoners.
The under 20 year olds will be required to take part in a daily routine which includes education, vocational training and rehabilitative programmes.
“We don’t want these teenagers to get used to a life of crime, and to continue creating victims in the years ahead,” says Mrs Tolley.
“While they are being punished for committing crimes we can give them the opportunity to turn their lives around, so that when they are released they are better-equipped to contribute to society, enter employment and be much less likely to reoffend. We will also be saving the taxpayer $96,000 a year for every offender who doesn’t return to prison.
“This is no easy task as young prisoners are often aggressive, destructive and anti- social, but if we can address these issues while they are under 20, while giving them education and skills training, then we can make a real difference and make our communities safer.”
The 30-bed refurbished unit replaces the previous youth unit which closed in 2011.
“Corrections has now strengthened its links with Child, Youth and Family, Youth Justice and Police Youth Aid, to better tackle youth offending,” says Mrs Tolley.
“As part of the Better Public Service targets, we have a firm goal of reducing reoffending by 25 per cent every year by 2017.
“This Young Offenders Unit has a major contribution to play in reaching that goal, alongside our other important targets of a reduction in the total recorded crime rate by 15 per cent, the recorded violent crime rate by 20 per cent and the youth crime rate by 5 per cent.”