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Record Fresh Start Performance continues

FRESH START INC.
NATIONAL COMMITTEE OFFICE

P.O. Box 2102,
MASTERTON
(or Box 22-145, Wellington)
New Zealand


Record Fresh Start Performance continues


Fresh Start Inc. made giant strides during the year to June 30, assisting 216 registered clients to secure full time paid employment.

Announcing the result, Fresh Start National President, Hon Jonathan Elworthy, said that increase of 67 or 45 % over the previous year reflected outstanding work by Fresh Start Field Officers.

“As a result of their efforts and the excellent cooperation that we received from employers and the Department of Work and Income we believe that Fresh Start has made a substantial contribution to a safer community by helping to reduce re-offending, Mr Elworthy said.

“International research, especially in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, clearly shows that ex-offenders helped into paid employment are less likely to re-offend.

“Re-offending as high as 80 per cent in New Zealand is unacceptable. Helping ex-offenders into paid employment is the most cost effective way of reducing recidivism.”

Mr Elworthy said that Fresh Start was working with Ministers and Departments to urgently increase its field staff to meet community demands.

“The Taranaki Safer Community Council has made a special plea for a Fresh Start Field Officer to be appointed to help ex-offenders find lawful, paid employment in the Taranaki and Wanganui regions,” he said.

“We have sought Government help to meet that urgent request and also to meet the needs of other communities.

“Given the resources we are confident that we can achieve even better results in the interests of the whole community,” Mr Elworthy said.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The (declared) ethnicity of Fresh Start clients placed in employment in the year to June 30 - Caucasian 28.6%; Maori 60.1 %; Polynesian 10.1 %; Other 1.2 %

At June 30 Fresh Start had helped place a total of 562 clients in employment since July 1996.
In July a further 21 clients were placed bringing the total to 583.

Fresh Start Inc. is an IRD approved, charitable and community based employment initiative for ex-offenders. There are strong indicators that there is a direct relationship between a reduction in family violence, paid employment and the rehabilitation / resettlement of ex- offenders.
It is well established that unemployment is a corrosive influence upon rehabilitation.

Fresh Start's Mission Statement -
Reducing re-offending and promoting a safer society by providing employment opportunities for persons with criminal convictions.


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.

5. Participating organisations and individuals
Fresh Start Inc. representative members are The New Zealand Employers Federation (& its constituents), the Department of Corrections, the N.Z. Council of Trade Unions, New Zealand Trade Union Federation, Dept of Work & Income, Community Employment and other organisations and individuals.

Office holders include The Rt. Rev. Sir Paul Reeves (Patron), Douglas Myers, Simon Caughey and Hon Sir Peter Tapsell (Vice Patrons), Hon Jonathan Elworthy (President) and Professor Jim Rowe (Vice President).

For Further information please contact:
Keith Hancox
National Secretary-Manager,
Fresh Start National Office

Tel: 06 370.1173
06 370.8592 (Pvte)
25 804.938
Fax 06 370.1115

Email keith.fresh@xtra.co.nz


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