Making communities safer by supporting ex-prisoners into work

  • Hon Kelvin Davis

Corrections is doing what works with rehabilitation, giving people the support they need to come out of prison less likely to re-offend, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said at the Otago Corrections Facility (OCF) Employers Open Day today.

“Our Government is committed to building safer, more connected communities and that means providing education, training and employment to help people safely transition back into their communities on release from prison,” Kelvin Davis said.  

“Corrections is doing great work in this space. In the last financial year, over 7,700 rehabilitation and motivational programme places were delivered; prisoners achieved nearly 3,200 qualifications; and almost 7,500 referrals were made to reintegration service providers, connecting people with whānau and community support and helping them into jobs and housing.

“OCF is leading the way in helping ex-prisoners find employment on release, having placed nearly 100 people into work in the 12 months to January 2019.”

OCF currently has 110 prisoners taking part in trades training and employment activities at the prison. Three men are also employed through the Release to Work programme, which allows suitable prisoners to gain skills and experience by participating in paid work in the community.

“If we want to stop people re-offending then we must make sure we’re giving them the skills they need to succeed on the outside,” Kelvin Davis said.  

“Having a job helps these men become financially independent, and also gives them a sense of purpose and pride which can be a big motivator in staying away from crime.

“It’s easy to judge someone based on their past, but if we want to rehabilitate prisoners and help them live crime-free, then we need to be willing to give people a second chance.

“I’m grateful to everyone in the community who has helped these prisoners into work, and encourage all business owners right across the country to do the same,” Kelvin Davis said.

Notes to Editors

  • Otago Corrections Facility has one offender recruitment consultant who works with offenders and employers to help prisoners on release into stable employment. Nearly 100 prisoners have been placed into work on release in the twelve months to January 2019.
  • When compared to other prisons across the country, Otago Corrections Facility’s offender recruitment consultant has placed the highest number of prisoners into full-time work.
  • This is the fifth Employers Open Day to be held at Otago Corrections Facility.