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New Units Help Break The Cycle Of Offending

28 June 2002

Four new self-care units at Arohata Women’s Prison for low security inmates nearing release will help break the cycle of offending for young women and their babies, Corrections Minister Matt Robson said today at the official opening ceremony.

“Self-care units are primarily designed to help prepare inmates for their return to the community. The units provide an environment similar to what they will face on the outside, says Matt Robson.

“It is sad, but true, that for many women inmates, this will be the first time in their lives they will have to take responsibility for themselves. Unlike the structured environment of the mainstream prison, in these units women are encouraged to be self-reliant. They will have to budget, cook, clean up after themselves, and organise groceries.

“We all take these basic life skills for granted. But for many of these inmates, this will be the first time in their lives that anyone has taken the time to teach them.

Matt Robson says the self-care units also provide a safe and stable environment for young inmates nursing children.

“For mothers with young babies, or inmates who give birth during their sentence, placement in the self-care unit is intended to ensure that the baby has an opportunity to bond with their mother in a safe and supportive environment.

“Many of these young mothers will parent as they have been parented. The unit ensures that these mothers have access to the support they need to break the cycle and give their babies the start in life they missed out on.

“The more successfully we can reintegrate inmates, the more successful we are at reducing re-offending,” says Matt Robson.

Ends

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