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Offenders straighten up with new driving programme


Whangarei offenders on the straight and narrow with new driving programme


Over 115 offenders and ex-prisoners have been given a second chance with a new driving programme in Whangarei aimed at helping young people off the pathway to prison and a life of crime.

NZ Howard League for Penal Reform CEO Mike Williams says the programme, which costs about the same as keeping one person in prison for a year, definitely works and leads to jobs for the participants.

“65% of Maori offenders have a driving offence as part of their initial jail sentence and about 5% of jail sentences are just for driving without a licence. Over 80% of all jobs these days require a drivers’ licence.

“So there are no down-sides to this programme. We create safer, legal drivers, we help keep them out of jail and we make them employable; getting them off benefits.”

Corrections Minister Hon Kelvin Davis and Regional Economic Development Minister Hon Shane Jones are both expected to speak at the official launch of the unlicenced offenders’ driving programme; 12pm, Friday 1 December at the Whangarei Community Probation Office, Walton Street.

Mike Williams says the Whangarei programme was established with an incredibly generous donation from the Lighthouse Foundation and he thanked Goldman NZ CEO Andrew Barclay for facilitating the donation.

“However, we believe that in terms of bang for buck a New Zealand wide programme should be a high priority for government spending.”

ENDS

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