Record number of prisoners in employment training

  • Anne Tolley

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says a record number of prisoners are now employed in on-the-job training or trades training programmes which lead to qualifications.

Offenders in Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE), including Release to Work programmes, increased by 175 to 3,144 in June, well over a third of all prisoners and the highest ever number engaged in formal training and employment activities.

Prisoners are trained by qualified instructors who deliver NZQF standards in a range of industries, from dairy farming and timber processing to engineering and photocopier assembly. This is in addition to the 1,725 prisoners employed in manual jobs inside the wire.

“There has been a positive response from prisoners to our focus on rehabilitation,” says Mrs Tolley.

“If they can learn important work skills while in prison, offenders have a much greater chance of employment upon release, and are less likely to reoffend which means fewer victims of crime.

“Research shows that reoffending within twelve months of release is reduced by 16.7 percentage points for those on Release to Work, and eight percentage points for offenders who worked in CIE.

“We are serious about increasing this important rehabilitation for prisoners and reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.

“Funding of $65 million in Budget 2012 will ensure an additional 2,950 prisoners will have access to education and employment training over the next four years.

“7,500 prisoners and community offenders will also be supported to find real jobs, in new partnerships with employers and industry.

“And 33,100 additional offenders will receive new and expanded drug and alcohol treatment in prisons and in the community.

“All of this important work will contribute to our target of 18,500 fewer victims of crime every year from 2017.”