• Nick Smith

This Coalition Government's commitment to safer communities is demonstrated with new and innovative programmes for reducing re-offending and increasing resources for prison security, says Corrections Minister Nick Smith.

The Government is investing nearly $8 million over the next three years in an innovative cognitive skills programme called Straight Thinking. This rehabilitative programme aims to turn around anti-social behaviour and encourage offenders to develop a sense of personal responsibility and self-control. The programme targets high risk offenders who lack basic social and problem solving skills.

"Overseas experience indicates that this kind of approach to rehabilitation can result in considerable reductions in re-offending. By the turn of the century, 2500 offenders a year are expected to go through the programme," said Dr Smith.

Other Budget initiatives include:

$22.5 million in capital funding over two years and $12.59 million in operating funding over three years to boost prison security to ensure that our prisons are safe and secure. This includes new fencing, cell alarms, improved lighting, locks and control rooms.

$8.79 million over the next three years for training and increasing the professionalism of all Corrections staff. Skilled staff are pivotal for the success of Prison security and programmes to reduce re-offending.

$528,000 over three years to expand programmes for Maori that strengthen inmates cultural perspective to reduce re-offending.

$394,000 for the development of home detention. This programme is an alternative to prison for low risk offenders. It uses high-tech equipment to monitor offenders in their home or work.