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New women's prison focussed on rehabilitation

22 June, 2006

New women's prison focussed on rehabilitation

Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility is specially designed to help its prisoners turn their lives around, Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor was accompanying Prime Minister Helen Clark, who officially opened the prison in Wiri, South Auckland.

Mr O'Connor said the new prison incorporated design features that were intended to be highly effective in terms of safety, security and rehabilitation.

"This is New Zealand's first purpose-built prison for women and is a world-class facility.

"It is not gold plated. It is a functional facility that has been carefully designed to provide state-of-the-art security while giving prisoners every opportunity to rehabilitate themselves with the aim of reducing re-offending."

The prison, rated minimum to high security, would hold up to 286 female prisoners and have 159 staff. It is due to start receiving prisoners in August.

The prison was built on time and on budget, which was a significant achievement considering skill shortages in the construction industry and the traditional difficulties that arise when securing a site for a new prison, Mr O'Connor said.

"But today is no cause for celebration. While prisons have long been an essential part of society, securely housing those who have broken the law, our ultimate goal must be to reduce the need to build more.

ENDS

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