Work rou­tine helps pris­on­ers

South Waikato News - - OPINION/NEWS - By LOUISE UP­STON

MP for Taupo

If you’ve started to no­tice more cops pa­trolling South Waikato streets you’re not imag­in­ing things. Na­tion­wide, from 2011 to 2012, the num­ber of front­line po­lice foot pa­trols has risen by 70 per cent. Here in the Bay of Plenty the num­ber of pa­trols has in­creased 99.6 per cent.

The huge in­crease in foot pa­trols, neigh­bour­hood polic­ing teams, the Preven­tion First Strat­egy and the 600 ex­tra front­line of­fi­cers are all con­tribut­ing to our fall­ing crime rate – which is at a 30-year low.

Na­tional is com­mit­ted to keep­ing Ki­wis safe in their homes and com­mu­ni­ties. We have a tar­get to re­duce re-of­fend­ing 25 per cent by 2017 – that’s 18,500 fewer vic­tims of crime ev­ery year.

As well as more of­fi­cers on the beat in Toko­roa, Pu­taruru, Ti­rau, Man­gakino and around New Zealand, the Government is com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing pris­oner em­ploy­ment and skills train­ing over the next five years as part of its pro­gramme to re­duce re-of­fend­ing.

De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions re­search shows re-of­fend­ing rates fell by more than 8 per cent for pris­on­ers who par­tic­i­pated in prison-based em­ploy­ment ac­tiv­i­ties and by more than 16 per cent for pris­on­ers on the re­lease to work pro­gramme.

Many pris­on­ers have poor em­ploy­ment his­to­ries. More than half did not have a job when im­pris­oned and most do not have any for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

As most pris­on­ers are go­ing to be re­leased at some stage, we need to do ev­ery­thing we can to make sure they don’t re­of­fend when they get out. We want them to re-in­te­grate into, and con­trib­ute to, their com­mu­ni­ties.

Work­ing prisons will give more pris­on­ers the op­por­tu­nity to get work ex­pe­ri­ence and gain qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Pris­on­ers will have a struc­tured 40-hour week of em­ploy­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Th­ese prison changes will con­trib­ute to Na­tional’s pri­or­ity to de­liver bet­ter pub­lic ser­vices, as will our changes to po­lice.

New Zealan­ders de­serve to feel safe in their homes and com­mu­ni­ties. Na­tional is sup­port­ing this through a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gramme to pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties and pre­vent crime.

– Louise Up­ston

If you would like more in­for­ma­tion or would like to let me know your thoughts, please email Up­ston.sth­waikato@par­lia­ment.govt.nz or phone Vi­vian in the South Waikato elec­torate of­fice on 07 886 5554.

Louise Up­ston

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