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Prison nurseries blooming

12 April 2006

Prison nurseries blooming

A recent restructure of Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) nurseries is providing better employment training opportunities for prisoners.

“Over the last few years, CIE has been changing the way its employment programmes are delivered,” says CIE Manager Brent Maughan. “Two and a half years ago we reviewed our horticulture programmes and replaced generalist area managers with industry manager specialists.”

“While some see this as closing nurseries down it has been really about restructuring them to provide quality employment and training opportunities for prisoners - opportunities that will prepare them for sustainable post release employment,” says Mr Maughan.

In 2002, a few nurseries that did not provide training in a commercial type work environment were closed. Their activities were amalgamated and replaced with larger nursery units at Auckland, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Manawatu, Rimutaka, and Rolleston Prisons.

“It is a far cry from closing things down,” says Mr Maughan. “Our operations at all six facilities are flourishing within the strict competition boundaries we set.”

“In terms of employment and training outcomes alone the nurseries are delivering.

Since the restructure employment hours in nurseries have jumped from 130,000 in 2003 to 177,000 in 2005 and NZQA credits achieved have increased from 372 to 657 over the same period.

“CIE is looking at the big picture and changing the way employment programmes are delivered to reflect it. Our nurseries are doing really well and we are building strong relationships with others in the industry.

Some of these could be through vocational training programmes similar to those already operating in Northland. In Northland, CIE worked with a number of local organisations and government agencies to identify regional skills-gaps and develop the training programmes to help fill them.

“By identifying a need, providing prisoners with theoretical and practical training, qualifications, and work experience in a real-work environment, our nurseries are providing prisoners with a platform for long-term employment,” says Mr Maughan. “A platform which will help both the individual and the industry long-term.”

CIE nurseries around the country

Auckland Prison
Corrections has two sites within the prison. One a specialist propagation unit and another 5000 square metre facility were mainly native plants are grown on for internal contracts and supply to local authorities and landscapers.

New Plymouth Prison
A 7500 square metre nursery specialising in revegetation plants under contract to local regional council (10 year relationship). Also supplies landscape plants to local council and landscapers.

Wanganui Prison
A 25,000 square metre unit with extensive shade house and propagation facilities. Undertakes contracting to Taranaki and Manawatu / Wanganui regional councils and supplies plants to landscape and retail sectors.

Manawatu Prison
A specialist propagation nursery which feeds tube stock into other CIE Nurseries and undertakes limited internal contracts. Comprises of 2,500 square metre covered facilities.

Rimutaka Prison
5,000 square metre intensive production nursery. Specialises in aquarium plants (grown hydroponically), begonias, bedding plants and potted colour. Also propagates some tube stocks for other nurseries.

John Nash nursery (Rolleston Prison)
20,000 square metre wholes-sale production nursery. The nursery grows native, specimen trees, grasses, Pittosorum, Hebes, and bedding plants for local councils, other nurseries, garden centres, and chain stores.

ENDS

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