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Department launches Pacific Strategy

Department launches Pacific Strategy

The Department of Corrections today launched its strategy for Pacific peoples for the next three years in Auckland.

Department of Corrections Chief Executive Barry Matthews says the Pacific Strategy 2005-2008 aims to reduce re-offending by Pacific offenders and provide greater opportunities for Pacific communities to work with the Department.

“Pacific peoples are disproportionately represented in New Zealand Prisons. While Pacific people account for six per cent of the New Zealand population they make up approximately 10 per cent of the prison population,” says Mr Matthews.

“The number of Pacific offenders is forecast to increase disproportionately in both custodial and community-based sentences as a result of the high proportion of Pacific people in the 15-24-year-old range. This is why the Department is focused on reducing the re-offending rates of Pacific peoples.

“The Pacific Strategy builds upon and cements the initiatives established in the Department’s previous Pacific Strategy for 2002-2005. It also introduces opportunities to further enhance the Department’s capability to contribute to creating positive outcomes for Pacific peoples.

“The Department has found that the best results are achieved when an prisoner’s culture is taken into account and they are supported by their community, friends and family.

“There are several initiatives in the Pacific Strategy for Pacific people that will be put into place over the next three years, including the development of New Zealand’s first Pacific Focus Unit at the Spring Hill Corrections Facility.

“The Pacific Focus Unit will create a therapeutic environment that will motivate Pacific prisoners to address the causes of their offending. The Department will also aim to provide effective rehabilitative programmes that address the specific needs of Pacific prisoners.”

The Pacific Strategy 2005-2008 was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and involved extensive consultation with Pacific communities.

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