Pris­on­ers of­fered new ed­u­ca­tion key

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION/NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

The key to re­duc­ing pris­oner re­of­fend­ing rates is ed­u­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to Cor­rec­tions Min­is­ter Anne Tol­ley.

‘‘The cold, hard re­al­ity is that 90 per cent of of­fend­ers can’t read or write any­where near well enough to suc­ceed in mod­ern so­ci­ety,’’ Ms Tol­ley said on Fe­bru­ary 21.

She was ad­dress­ing Open Polytech­nic and prison staff, and Aro­hata Women’s Prison in­mates, as she launched a part­ner­ship be­tween the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions and the Hutt Val­ley-based polytech­nic.

The Get Ahead pro­gramme aimed to have 2000 pris­on­ers each year do­ing self-di­rected study and 6000 of­fend­ers out­side prison re­ceiv­ing train­ing lead­ing to sta­ble em­ploy­ment, she said.

The pro­gramme will be de­liv­ered free of fees for the first three years by the Open Polytech­nic, both in­side and out­side prisons.

Open Polytech­nic chief ex­ec­u­tive Caro­line Seelig said the pro­gramme would be of­fered to se­lected pris­on­ers and would be funded from within the polytech­nic’s ex­ist­ing bud­get.

‘‘Prison case work­ers se­lect peo­ple who they are con­fi­dent will suc­ceed in the pro­gramme,’’ Dr Seelig said.

Par­tic­i­pants needed some level of lit­er­acy, but not to have got NCEA level-two or higher and have at least six months in prison left to serve.

It would be de­liv­ered in a mix of face- to- face con­tact and dis­tance learn­ing, which en­abled par­tic­i­pants to move at their own pace, and con­tinue with it when they left prison.

‘‘The ben­e­fit of that is that they can move,’’ she said.

Each par­tic­i­pant would get two hours of coach­ing each week and be ex­pected to do eight hours of self­di­rected study.

Stay straight: Aro­hata Women’s Prison case worker Moe Tafili, left with Open Polytech­nic chief ex­ec­u­tive Caro­line Seelig and Cor­rec­tions Min­is­ter Anne Tol­ley at the an­nounce­ment of a new cor­re­spon­dence course to teach pris­on­ers lit­er­acy.

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