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PHA Applauds Govt Focus On Prisoner Rehabilitation

12 May 2006

PHA Applauds Government Focus On Prisoner Treatment
And Rehabilitation

The Public Health Association (PHA) is applauding Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor’s commitment to reducing New Zealand’s high imprisonment rate. In a speech delivered this morning, Mr O’Connor emphasised the need to focus on the rehabilitation of prisoners, and their reintegration into communities.

PHA Director Dr Gay Keating says New Zealand’s current high imprisonment rate has dire consequences for the health of many inmates, and moves to reduce the number of people imprisoned were long overdue.

“Money is best spent on treatment and rehabilitation programmes. Offending is often linked to drug and alcohol issues, and by imprisoning people you make it more difficult for them to access treatment services.

“Our high imprisonment rates also lead to overcrowding, which increases the risk of infectious diseases such as preventable lung and skin infections and gastroenteritis.”

Dr Keating says the Government’s commitment to an increased focus on treatment and rehabilitation will impact positively on inmates’ physical and mental health.

“We fully support this emphasis on programmes that prevent people from entering prison in the first place, alternative sentencing, and rehabilitation.”

ENDS

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