For­mer in­mates given more job op­por­tu­ni­ties

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CA­TRIN OWEN

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.’’

CA­TRIN OWEN/FAIRFAX NZ

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.