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Minister congratulates inmate graduates

"I congratulate those inmates here today who have shown the initiative to take part in a new programme designed to cut rates of re-offending. It gives me and all New Zealanders hope for the future," says Minister of Corrections Matt Robson.

Matt Robson was handing out certificates to eight Manawatu inmates who are graduating from the Straight Thinking programme.

"These are the types of positive steps towards crime prevention that this government wants to develop."

Straight Thinking is a cognitive skills programme which teaches inmates to think and reason so as to reduce re-offending.

It is run by the Department of Corrections for offenders both in prisons and on community-based sentences.

"I am greatly encouraged to see the enthusiasm and commitment of the participants here today," said Matt Robson.

"This programme has given you the skills and the knowledge to address the reasons for your offending. It's a chance for a fresh start. It is also our best investment in community safety across New Zealand."

Straight Thinking has been developed specifically for New Zealand offenders.

Staff from the Community Probation and Public Prisons Services run the programme, and undergo an intensive two week programme that trains them as Straight Thinking facilitators.

Cognitive skills programmes have been successful overseas in reducing re-offending by 11-13%.

Forty-six inmates from Manawatu prison have completed the Straight Thinking programme since it started in June last year. On a national basis, about 1600 offenders will have been enrolled on the programme by June 2000.

ends

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