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Funding boost to help released inmates

17 May 2005
Budget 2005
Media Statement

Funding boost to help released inmates

Budget 2005 has allocated an extra $4.4 million over four years to boost services for former inmates reintegrating into the community, Corrections Minister Paul Swain announced today.

The extra funding will be used to increase the number of reintegration coordinators from 3 to 13 in 2005/06 and to 16 in 2006/07. The coordinators work with other government and community agencies such as Work and Income, Housing NZ, Prisoners' Aid and Rehabilitation Society (PARS) and employer organisations to make sure services are in place prior to an offender's release.

"Since 1999 the government has introduced tougher sentencing, bail and parole laws, which have seen inmate numbers increase. But around 25 per cent of released inmates return to prison within a year. If we can reduce this to 20 per cent it would mean about 350 people not returning to prison a year – that's the capacity of one new prison.

"What happens to inmates when they walk out the prison gates has a huge bearing on whether they successfully rejoin the community or fall back into a life of crime," Paul Swain said.

"The Corrections Department already spends more than $9 million a year on reintegration and there is a lot of good work already being done to help inmates reintegrate into the community but these efforts lack proper coordination. That is why the reintegration coordinators have such an important role to play."

Offenders with the greatest needs will be identified as part of their assessment and sentence planning. Those offenders who need assistance with housing, employment and other intervention or support services, who also have a high risk of reoffending will be targeted.

The extra funding also provides for initiatives designed for inmates who do not have access to appropriate housing when they are released.

ENDS

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