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Group of graduates off to prison

19 August 2011

Group of graduates off to prison

A multicultural cohort of new Corrections staff have graduated from the Initial Training Course (ITC) at Rimutaka Prison, ready to start their career keeping New Zealanders safe.

The group also consisted of two Raratongan Corrections Officers who completed the training to assist them in their roles at Aoranga Prison in the Cook Islands.

The graduates were made up of New Zealand, Maori, British, Fijian Indian and South African recruits.

Prison Services General Manager Harry Hawthorn says workforce diversity is important to the success of the Department and helps it to work effectively with offenders from differing backgrounds.

The newly trained professionals were also the first to go through the refreshed training, which involves more time inside the wire to help apply the theory being taught to the reality of the prison environment.

"Prisoners can be difficult to manage, frontline staff are responsible for working with them everyday. These staff have the chance to make a real difference by providing role model behaviour and encouraging crimefree lifestyles,” Mr Hawthorn says.

“The intensive six week course covers a range of training for new staff including the processes and procedures for conducting muster checks, locking and unlocking, incident reporting, managing at risk prisoners and the use of active management.

“The staff will soon put these skills into practice in their roles at sites around the country. Their training will also be expanded with on the job training to support and guide prisoners to undertake rehabilitation programmes, receive an education, gain skills that will help them gain work upon release; and use their time in prison constructively.”

One of the graduates, Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) instructor, Ralph Bennett, was the recipient of Corrections Minister Honourable Judith Collins’ Excellence Award for showing superior performance and leadership throughout the course.

Mr Bennett says he is excited to be part of the process that rehabilitates people and reintegrates them back into society. “I’ve spent most of my career in the horticulture industry and am looking forward to teaching prisoners some of the skills I’ve learnt over the years.”

The Acting Cook Islands High Commissioner Sonya Kamana also attended the ceremony to present the Cook Island Prison Officers with completion certificates. The two Officers will now travel back to the main island of Raratonga to work at Aoranga Prison.

ENDS

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