Rimutaka Prison’s Gate to Plate event has been a tremendous success with more than 240 people visiting the prison for dinner, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
Eleven million hours of rehabilitation, education, employment and constructive activities have been completed by prisoners in the last financial year, as part of the Working Prisons initiative, says Corrections Minist
Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed 45 new Corrections officers to the front line.
The latest cohort, which graduated at a ceremony in Wellington today, includes officers from the United Kingdom, Samoa, South Africa and India. They come from a range of professions including former police officers, nurses and mental health workers.
Prisoners taking part in this year’s Visa Wellington on a Plate are learning skills that will help them make positive changes in their lives, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
It’s the fifth time Rimutaka Prison has taken part in the event, and demand for tickets to its Gate to Plate this year was so great that a ballot had to be held.
Dinner will be prepared and served by a group of prisoners to around 240 paying guests over three nights starting on 15 August.
A continued focus on the rehabilitation and reintegration needs of prisoners is the best way to turn the tide on the growing prison population, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
Corrections has a number of programmes designed to give offenders a chance at turning their lives around. This was recently given a boost in the Budget with an extra $18.6m for industry, training and support programmes in prisons.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston is impressed at the results being achieved by the Department’s Employer Partnerships initiatives and is looking forward to them continuing to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
“Finding steady employment for offenders when they leave prison is a critical step to helping these people turn their lives around. The work Corrections has been doing with offenders and potential employers in this area is very promising,” says Ms Upston.
This week the second phase of the alcohol interlock pilot is being launched nationally, including active involvement with the offenders’ probation officers, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
$694,000 has been secured from the Justice Sector Fund for phase two of the Alcohol Interlock pilot. Phase two will see Corrections fund a further 240 alcohol interlock devices for eligible offenders serving community sentences for drink driving offences.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed more than 45 new frontline corrections officers to the team.
The latest cohort graduating at a ceremony in Wellington today includes officers from Samoa, South Africa, the Philippines, India, the United Kingdom and the Cook Islands. They also come from a range of previous career paths and professions.
“I’m delighted to see such a diverse array of individuals choosing to work with Corrections,” Ms Upston says.
Minister Louise Upston will today host her second cross-sector employment breakfast in Northland in as many weeks, as the Government seeks to strengthen the links between educators and employers, and to match up relevant training opportunities for young people with the jobs that need filling.
As part of a $14 million initiative to help offenders and their families cope with mental health challenges, four new services are now being piloted by Corrections, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
Under its Mental Health and Reintegration Programme, the pilots aim to better support offenders who have mental health needs in prison and the community.
“Prisoners and community-based offenders face mental health challenges at a far higher rate than the general population,” Ms Upston says.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston says an initiative between Corrections and Horticulture New Zealand is proving beneficial to the department’s goal of turning offenders’ lives around.
Following the successful first year of a pilot programme in Hawke’s Bay that was established to help ex-prisoners and community-based offenders find sustainable employment in the horticulture industry, Corrections and Horticulture New Zealand are now looking to expand the initiative into the Bay of Plenty.
Frontline Corrections officers will soon be able to carry pepper spray on their bodies to increase staff and prisoner safety, says Minister of Corrections Louise Upston.
The Corrections Amendment Regulations 2017, which come into effect next month, allow trained and authorised staff to carry pepper spray on them, giving them an additional tool to respond to potentially dangerous situations. These include incidents that may occur in escort vehicles outside of prison.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed nearly 60 new frontline Corrections officers from all over the world who graduated today.
The latest cohort includes officers from Sri Lanka, China, India, Tonga, South Africa, the Cook Islands, the Czech Republic and the UK.
“New Zealand is a culturally diverse nation and we are keen to have officers who also represent that diversity,” Ms Upston says.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston is thanking the more than 2000 volunteers who give their time to help prisoners and offenders turn their lives around.
Today marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week, when the work of more than one million volunteers in New Zealand is recognised and celebrated.
“Volunteers are an essential part of Corrections’ work to support people to change their lives,” Ms Upston says.
Businesses from around the lower North Island will be urged to consider offenders as employees at a breakfast function hosted by Corrections Minister Louise Upston and the Corrections Department next week.
The event on Tuesday is part of a series being held around the country aimed at getting employers onboard with hiring people who have spent time in prison.
Two similar events, in Hamilton and Christchurch, proved successful with a number of businesses stepping up.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed more than 80 new frontline officers from all walks of life to Corrections following their graduation today.
The recruits, 54 men and 30 women, completed a 12-week training course to graduate at a ceremony in Wellington.
“I am grateful these men and women from all backgrounds, ethnicities and walks of life, have chosen to work with Corrections,” Ms Upston says.
Budget 2017 invests $81.8 million of new operating funding over four years to help manage offenders serving sentences in the community and to improve prisoner rehabilitation, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
$51.6 million in funding will enable Community Corrections to increase its resources to manage the growing number and complexity of community-based offenders, and support the Parole Board and the judiciary to make informed risk-based sentences and decisions.
Budget 2017 invests $1.24 billion of new operating funding over four years and $785.6 million of capital funding in law and order initiatives to help make our communities safer, Police Minister Paula Bennett, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams, and Corrections Minister Louise Upston say.
“The extra investment in Budget 2017 includes the $503.8 million Safer Communities Package which was announced earlier this year and will deliver an additional 1,125 police staff,” Mrs Bennett says.
New laws will allow Police and Corrections to better ensure offenders in the community or defendants on bail are adhering to conditions not to consume alcohol or drugs, say Police Minister Paula Bennett and Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
“Harmful alcohol and drug use is a serious health issue and a major driver of crime. About half of crime is committed by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Mrs Bennett says.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston will tomorrow host the second in a series of employer breakfasts in Canterbury to outline how they can help change the lives of offenders, their families and their communities.
Ms Upston and Corrections will showcase the work being done by the department to provide better outcomes for offenders, including helping them into regular paid employment. The first breakfast held in Hamilton last month attracted many employers keen to hire motivated and skilled workers.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston today acknowledged the nearly 250 nurses, team leaders and health centre managers who deliver primary health services to prisoners behind the wire every day.
Each year International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May - the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. It recognises the contribution made by nurses around the world.
New Zealand Corrections nurses carry out more than 100,000 consultations with prisoners every year.