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Half of all prisoners now in work or training

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Corrections

18 September 2008
Media statement

Half of all prisoners now in work or training

Half of all inmates in our prisons are now engaged in employment or training, Corrections Minister Phil Goff said today.

Mr Goff was speaking during a tour of Auckland Prison’s Corrections Inmate Employment industries work yard.

“A little over two years since the Government launched the four-year Prisoner Employment Strategy, 51 per cent of the total prison population and 64 per cent of the sentenced prison population is now in some form of employment or training,” Mr Goff said.

“This represents an overall increase of almost 1000 prisoners in work, and is a real achievement in just two years across a prison population of around 8000. Getting prisoners working is vitally important for their rehabilitation. The Government’s aim is to get 60 per cent of the prison population in work by 2010, up from 40 per cent two years ago, and I am confident this target can be met.

“Prisoners are now working in partnership with employers from the construction and concrete panel industries, roading contractors, farming, forestry, horticulture and catering, and with high tech companies such as Canon Photocopiers.

“An example at Auckland Prison of employers working with Corrections is construction company Stone Strong.

“Prisoners at the prison’s pre-cast concrete yard construct thousands of large scale concrete blocks. These blocks form the foundation of retaining walls for Stone Strong which are used on highways, railroads, bridge ends, steep construction sites and surrounding waterways.

“Last year prisoners also gained 37,563 New Zealand Qualifications Authority credits, up from 20,350 the previous year. This is a growth of 85 per cent,” Phil Goff said.

“The importance of the employment strategy from a Corrections point of view is that being in a steady job reduces the likelihood of offending. Most of these prisoners have no formal qualifications and were unemployed before going to prison.

“Giving prisoners skills and work habits and providing contact with employers for when they leave prison is very much in the interests of the wider community. It leads to reduced re-offending and fewer victims,” Phil Goff said.


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