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Record Fresh Start Performance half year ended Dec

January 19,2001

Record Fresh Start Performance half year ended December 2000

Fresh Start and its clients had a record half-year to December 2000.

More than 230 persons were assisted into employment – 178 of them Fresh Start clients with recent criminal convictions.

In addition a further 98 persons were placed in jobs providing work experience and or training and a further 60 long term unemployed were placed in position where no Fresh Start clients were immediately available.

The result of 238 placements compared with a six-month target of 120.

The results were announced today by the President of Fresh Start Inc., Hon Jonathan Elworthy who described the effort as “outstanding”

“It simply demonstrates that given adequate resources Fresh Start can and will make a significant impact in an area where the community believes increased emphasis is essential if re-offending by former prison inmates is to be reduced,” he said.

The clients placed had previously been convicted of offences such as rape, sexual violation, aggravated robbery, burglary, driving while disqualified, assault, drug importation and / or supply, fraud, theft and grievous bodily harm

The clients were placed into jobs such as couriers, driving, labouring, security work, forestry building, concrete placing, engineering, painting, process working, computer software, computer hardware, sawmill s, warehousing, manufacturing, retailing, orchard (fruit pickling), horticulture, fork lift operation, machine operation, road works, gardening, cooking, kitchen work the hospitality industry, laundry work, nursing, technical and farm work.


There has been a sharp increase in client and employer interest in Fresh Start operations since the publication of the booklet, Straight fort Work, late last year. One letter received illustrates this:


I was reading,' Employment Matters'' where I came across an article about ex-criminals and employment. I have been out of prison for 16 years. The stigma of being to prison, still remains a major concern for me and whether
to tell a prospective employer or not. I have been honest on most occasions and I immediately elicit a patronising or negative response.

Since I've been out of prison, I have had my own business, two university degrees an I currently have a very high profile position working in {area deleted by Fresh Start], working with local govt, whanau groups, community groups in a major [area deleted by Fresh Start] city.

Because my criminal history is such long way behind me ( I have no sex, murder, drugs or manslaughter convictions) but my criminal history is extensive. I would never have secured my present employment had I been honest from the outset.

I did not however conceal my criminal past, by revealing my past. I was never asked the question. The issue of a criminal past was never raised. I initially worked on a voluntary basis for my current employer for a month so
I was able to build up a positive rapport. Our organisation does have recruitment policies that are explicit concerning criminal convictions.

The danger however is still out there that some day my past may catch up with me. I hope your book may have some suggestions for me to come out and be totally honest with my employer and maybe the wider community.

Thank you for reading this far, I don't talk about my criminal past so I feel a little relieved that at least I've told someone I don't know.
Notes:
* Work experience. These placements are “temporary” jobs for persons who, if they prove suitable, may have their jobs converted into permanent positions. They are not included in “permanent: placements until those appointments become “permanent

For further information or clarification please contact:

Keith Hancox, Secretary Manager
Tel 06 370.1173 Fax 370.1115 or after hours 06 370.8592
~~ ~ ~ ~ ~
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
1. Fresh Start's operational principles include:
* A commitment by all ex-offenders NOT to re-offend and to remain drug free;
* Full disclosure (to Fresh Start and employers) of criminal convictions by Fresh Start job applicants;
* Non discriminatory employment practices (by employers) against persons with criminal convictions where the convictions) are not relevant to a job;
* Demonstrated commitment by all Fresh Start registrants to a way of life that accepts and embraces societal norms;
2. Objectives - Fresh Start's current 3-year plan (99-02) includes the following objectives:
* To foster among all employers a willingness to employ ex-offenders
* To work in partnership with clients, families and employers to promote the employment of ex-offenders
* To encourage ex-offenders and families to contribute positively to the resolution of their own problems
3. Outcomes
* Strengthening family relationships and less family and other violence
* Less personal and family reliance on Social Welfare Active contributor to the community
* Better attitude to drugs / alcohol and reduced crime and recidivism
4. Expected impact
The rate of recidivism will be reduced with consequential reductions in family violence and other offending. Substantial financial and social benefits will accrue and result in a safer more productive society. International studies support this contention. International studies in the United Kingdom and the United States of America support the contention that programmes such as Fresh Start contribute to a major reduction in re-offending.
Fresh Start's Mission Statement -
Reducing re-offending and promoting a safer society by providing employment opportunities for persons with criminal convictions.

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