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$15.3 m to support offenders into employment

Hon Anne Tolley

Minister for Social Development

Hon Judith Collins

Minister of Corrections

3 October 2016
Media Statement


$15.3 m to support offenders into employment

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Corrections Minister Judith Collins have announced the launch of a new initiative to support more offenders into employment.

Budget 2016 invested $15.3 million over three years for the trial, which is targeted at increasing the employment prospects of released prisoners.


Work and Income case managers and professionals will work with prisoners from pre-release for up to a year to help them prepare, find and stay in employment to help reduce reoffending.

“Released prisoners have been identified as one of MSD’s most complex and challenging groups,” says Ms Tolley.

“Eighty per cent are still on a benefit 12 months after release, and many stay on a benefit long-term, meaning over their lifetime they have a $30,000 higher benefit liability on average than the general population.

“This important work aims to give them and their families an opportunity to lead successful lives, and to steer them away from a return to crime.”

Work and Income case managers and Corrections staff will work with up to 200 clients at any one time to develop an individual plan to get them into employment, and to help offenders access education and training, financial support services, health services, and social and housing support. This will begin 10 weeks before release from prison and continue for 12 months after release.

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This initiative gets underway today at seven prisons – in Northland, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Rimutaka, Arohata, Auckland Men’s and Auckland Women’s prisons.

A similar service delivered by contractors is scheduled to begin in November for Rolleston, Christchurch Men’s and Christchurch Women’s prisons.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins welcomed the launch of this project.

“Reducing re-offending is the prime goal of the department. We know that having a job can stop people from committing crime. Initiatives such as this will go a long way to helping us achieve our targets.”

“The intention of this programme is to ensure people are ready for work and have skill sets to meet employer and labour market needs for sustainable employment,” says Ms Collins.

ends

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