Sober­ing day for pris­on­ers


‘‘It's made me re­alise it's not worth the risk. Use your head. Get a sober driver or have a sleep.’’

Women in Aro­hata Prison’s drug treat­ment unit were among the first in the re­gion to go through a new im­mer­sive al­co­hol im­pair­ment ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme.

The Al­co­hol Im­pair­ment Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme in June in­cluded view­ing a wrecked car from a drink and drug driv­ing fatal­ity, chat­ting with staff from the po­lice’s traf­fic al­co­hol group, at­tempt­ing phys­i­cal chal­lenges while wear­ing visual im­pair­ment gog­gles, and hear­ing how post mortems are car­ried out.

A pris­oner in her early 30s, who is serv­ing a sen­tence for driv­ing-re­lated of­fend­ing, said it helped her un­der­stand the con­se­quences of drink-driv­ing.

‘‘It’s made me re­alise it’s not worth the risk,’’ she said.

‘‘Use your head. Get a sober driver or have a sleep.’’

She was one of 20 women at the one-day ed­u­ca­tion and devel­op­ment pro­gramme held in the prison in Tawa.

The pro­gramme was a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Cor­rec­tions, po­lice, Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand (for­merly NZ Fire Ser­vice), road safety teams at Up­per Hutt, Hutt City and Welling­ton coun­cils, and Welling­ton SCL Mor­tu­ary.

‘‘It builds on what they’re learn­ing in here around ac­tions and con­se­quences,’’ says Teresa Knowles, clin­i­cal man­ager for CareNZ, which de­liv­ers the al­co­hol and drug pro­gramme in the prison.

‘‘It’s about mak­ing good choices, con­nect­ing with how they feel, think and then act.’’

Dis­trict road polic­ing man­ager in­spec­tor Jan Craig said the pro­gramme helped break the cy­cle of re­cidi­vist drink-driv­ing.

‘‘The pro­gramme gives par­tic­i­pants the tools to re­duce of­fend­ing and as­sists with the de­ci­sion mak­ing process to help pre­vent them driv­ing im­paired,’’ she said.

The pro­gramme was held for com­mu­nity-based of­fend­ers in the Welling­ton dis­trict last year, and was adapted from a sim­i­lar pro­gramme in the Bay of Plenty.

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