Changes have been introduced to support female inmates at risk of family violence when they leave prison, the Department of Corrections says. Most women prisoners are, or have been, victims of family violence, which may be intergenerational and an entrenched part of their lives, said Corrections Minister Judith Collins.
The changes aim to identify women at risk of family violence early in their prison sentences so safety planning and appropriate support can be organised.
"For many of these women, prison is a place of relative safety compared to what they may face at home," Corrections said.
"There is a lot that Corrections can do to support them while in prison and prepare for their eventual release back into the community."
Corrections said it was working with police to share information about family violence risks and prison case managers were working with relevant family violence agencies.
As part of the changes women prisoners would have time to attend courses that could help them and there would be careful planning around how women leave prison to reintegrate into their communities. "Better support for women prisoners who are at risk of family violence will help to break the cycle of offending and stop intergenerational violence," said Collins.
Women prisoners also had access to Shine and Are You Okay helplines if they wanted to talk to someone outside the prison system.