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Reintegration programme will help make NZ safer

26 November 2004

Reintegration programme will help make New Zealand safer

The Green Party has warmly welcomed a pilot programme to help newly released inmates reintegrate into society.

Green Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos, who attended the programme’s launch this afternoon at Rimutaka Prison in Upper Hutt, said it was a welcome sign that a more intelligent approach to crime reduction was being taken by the Government.

“Our justice system should be committed to reducing crime as much as it is to punishing offenders,” said Nandor. “This programme is a small step in the right direction.”

The pilot programme will see three ‘Regional Reintegration Coordinators’ appointed, who will work with agencies such as Housing Corporation, WINZ, police, educational institutions and local government to ensure that released inmates are able to get housing, an income, and work or training.

“It is incredibly hard for people released from prison to reintegrate into ‘straight’ society,” Nandor said. “If you have done a lag, it’s hard to get a job. It can be hard to access training programmes and get accommodation.

“It is an almost inevitable path back to prison for many people. This programme will make that path less likely.

“Building more prisons and locking up more people is not a viable solution. The only way to make New Zealanders safer is to reduce offending and reoffending.

“The Greens are committed to rehabilitation and reintegration programmes because we know they work. Some politicians try to create a climate of fear, campaigning for tougher and tougher sentences even though this does nothing to reduce reoffending rates. This programme is a recognition that there is another approach to crime reduction, and we hope to see it expanded throughout the country.”

ENDS


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