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Whare Oranga Ake will help cut reoffending

Whare Oranga Ake will help cut reoffending

Budget funding for two new Whare Oranga Ake – reintegration units for prisoners – will help to reduce re-offending and re-imprisonment rates, Associate Corrections Minister Pita Sharples says.

The Budget allocates $19.8 million over four years for building and operating two new 16-bed units by 2011/12. After a review in 2012, each unit will expand to 32 beds in 2013. With the typical stay expected to be nine months, a 32-bed unit would provide for 42 residents a year on average.

“Currently, over half of Maori prisoners reoffend within four years of release,” Dr Sharples says. “Whare Oranga Ake will help reduce the growth in numbers of prisoners and contribute to savings - not just in Corrections - but in the wider social costs of crime and punishment.

Whare Oranga Ake is a kaupapa-Maori reintegration unit ‘outside the wire’, where the focus will be on prisoners gaining employment, securing suitable accommodation and improving family and wider social relationships.

Support networks in the community will provide backup for whanau.

“Kaupapa Maori rehabilitation strengthens the cultural identity of Maori participants, improves their attitudes and behaviours, and can motivate them to avoid further offending,” Dr Sharples says.

“Research shows that programmes delivered in a Tikanga Maori environment are just as effective for non-Maori offenders as they are for Maori.

“This Budget provides capital funding of $12.3 million over 2010/11 to 2012/13 for two whare, one in Auckland and one in Hawkes Bay, and operating funding of $3.2 million a year by 2012/13 .

“Each whare will be reviewed after a year, and again a year later, to see how well it is working. In the longer term, I expect Whare Oranga Ake to show measurable reductions in rates of re-imprisonment,” Dr Sharples says.


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