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Photocopier assembly initiative for prisoners

Hon Phil Goff

Minister of Corrections

17 July 2008

Media statement

Phil Goff launches photocopier assembly employment initiative for prisoners

Corrections Minister Phil Goff today launched a new prisoner employment partnership between the Department of Corrections and Canon New Zealand.

The initiative will employ around 15 prisoners at Rimutaka Prison and Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, with the number expected to grow in the near future.

“This new partnership is a first for Canon anywhere in the world. It will give inmates real jobs and valuable work skills,” Phil Goff said.

“Prisoners will assemble new photocopiers and clean older machines. They will also dismantle obsolete printers for recycling. The partnership is expected to expand to include machine repair. Canon will pay the Department market rates for work undertaken, which will offset the costs of prison employment and skill training programmes.

“Prisoners working on the Canon machines will earn New Zealand Qualifications Authority accreditation which can be put towards a national certificate in Electronic Manufacturing Level 3,” Phil Goff said.

“Gaining skills and qualifications increases the chances of prisoners finding jobs following their release from prison. This is important because prisoners who obtain employment after their release are less likely to re-offend, which in turn means fewer victims and safer communities.

“The last prison census (2003) revealed that 52 per cent of prisoners had no formal qualifications and only 45 per cent were in paid work before going to prison.

“This project is another step in a government drive to get more prisoners working and learning instead of doing their time sitting in their cells. Through programmes such as Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) we now have 51 per cent of the total prison population and 66 per cent of sentenced inmates involved in employment or training,” Phil Goff said.

“Prisoner employment initiatives target industries in the workforce where there is a demand for skilled and semi skilled labour.

“CIE assesses market trends to identify industries that require qualified workers within the geographical areas where prisoners are likely to be released. CIE then provides prisoners with training and employment opportunities within industries that are experiencing labour shortages, as in this case.

“I congratulate Canon New Zealand on their involvement and look forward to expanding this partnership in the future,” Phil Goff said.


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