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Corrections facility will bring benefits to North

Corrections facility will bring benefits to Northland

The Corrections Minister Paul Swain says the Northland Region Corrections Facility (NRCF) under construction near Kaikohe will bring both economic and social benefits to the region.

Mr Swain is today visiting the construction site for the $132.8 million prison, which is on target to open in March 2005.

“Once the facility is up and running, staff salaries alone will bring around $10 million into the community,” says Mr Swain.

“The flow-on effects from this sort of money improve the prospects of everyone in the community.”

"At the moment, of course, the focus is on construction. Northland based organisations make up around 65 percent of the contractors on site. Trade training programmes have upskilled around 110 people, most of whom are Northland residents.”

"More jobs are also an obvious advantage for the community," says Mr Swain.

An average of 250-280 people are on site each day. This includes more than 50 previously local unemployed. Around 231 people will be recruited for the facility by the time it’s opened early next year.

Upskilling and employment of local people is an important element of the programme.

The Department’s contractor, Mainzeal, has established a Trade Training and Potential Employment Initiative (TTPE), which has secured employment through its subcontractors for in excess of 70 people.

A further 40 are being processed and are in some form of training for future placement.

Mr Swain says a key reason for building new prisons, like NRCF, was the 20 percent increase in prison population forecast to occur over the next seven years.

"This facility is here to do two things – firstly to incarcerate people as a result of their offending, and help keep the community safe. Secondly, and just as importantly, it’s here to help offenders make positive changes in their lives.

Everything that will occur at this prison is targeted at reducing re-offending, which is what Corrections is really all about."

NRCF, and other new prisons being built around the country, aim to accommodate offenders close to their home areas and, importantly, their family/whanau and support networks.

These links are a key part of an inmate’s rehabilitation and a factor in helping an offender to fit back into the community and not re-offend.

Prior to a tour of the construction site, local MP, Hon. Dover Samuels, Corrections Under-Secretary, Mita Ririnui and Mr Swain were all received at Ngawha Marae.

Mr Swain acknowledged the support of Ngati Rangi, who have kaitiaki (guardianship) status over the NRCF site. “Ngati Rangi involvement has been, and will continue to be, extremely important in the ongoing development and management of the prison.”

Mr Swain also advised that construction was on track and on budget.

NRCF is one of four proposed new prisons to be built over the next three years. Other prisons include Auckland Women’s, Springhill Corrections Facility (Waikato) and the Otago Region Corrections Facility.

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