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Corrections Minister Welcomes Report

13 December 2005

Corrections Minister Welcomes Report

Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor has welcomed the completion of a report by the Office of the Ombudsmen on the treatment and conditions of detention of prisoners.

The report, tabled in Parliament today, is the result of a study of current practices and procedures in prisons initiated by the Office of the Ombudsmen last December.

Damien O'Connor said that while he has not yet had time to read the report in full, he was pleased it confirmed there is no culture of abuse of prisoners by staff.

He agreed with the report's key finding relating to the need to step up work programmes and training for prisoners.

"That's something I really want to address over the next three years. Prisoners should be as productive as possible during their sentence, by taking part in meaningful work initiatives and learning skills that will prepare them for life in the community."

The Corrections Department and the Ministry of Social Development were already working jointly on a strategy to improve the employment prospects of offenders, he said.

Damien O'Connor was also supportive of the call for prisoners to have wider access to alcohol and drug treatment programmes.

He said he would discuss the Ombudsmen's recommendations with the Corrections Department chief executive.

ENDS

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