Former inmates given more job opportunities
Former inmates are being given more opportunities to re-enter the workforce.
Last month the Department of Corrections signed up Waste Management as its 100th employer committed to hiring former inmates.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston said such partnerships were providing employers with motivated and skilled workers for a wide range of jobs.
‘‘We know that having stable employment plays a huge role in reducing the likelihood of reoffending once someone leaves prison,’’ Upston said.
The national prison population is at its highest ever with more than 10,000 inmates.
There are another 30,000 community-based offenders nationwide.
Waste Management chief executive Tom Nickels said the company would look to provide jobs to offenders who were still in prison, but were allowed to go out during the day and work.
‘‘If we don’t give these people an opportunity, what options have they got?’’ Nickels said.
Waste Management had 1500 employees around New Zealand and about 50 vacancies.
It also had 800 trucks on New Zealand roads and was struggling to find drivers, Nickels said.
Waste Management would help offenders obtain truck driving licences.
Corrections northern regional commissioner Jeanette Burns said over the past five months at least 300 people with convictions had been placed into jobs, 100 of those in the northern region.
An employment support service had been running for the past three years, Burns said.
‘‘The service provides job placement and in-work support for prisoners due for release and for offenders on a community sen- tence who are motivated to get a job and keep it,’’ she said.
The service provides prisoners and offenders help with CVs and interviews, Burns said.
Corrections also provided housing, family and further ongoing support after offenders are released from prison, Burns said.
‘‘We know that having stable employment plays a huge role in reducing the likelihood of reoffending once someone leaves prison.’’
Waste Management is struggling to find drivers for its trucks, says chief executive Tom Nickels, seen here with Jeanette Burns from the Department of Corrections.