Prisoner skills training cuts figures for reoffending

By Chester Borrows

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Natinal is committed to keeping Kiwis safe in their homes and communities.

We have a target to reduce reoffending to 25 per cent by 2017 - that's 18,500 fewer victims of crime every year.

Department of Corrections research shows reoffending 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.

That's why this government is committed to increasing prisoner employment and skills training over the next five years as part of its programme to reduce reoffending. Many prisoners have poor employment histories.

More than half didn't have a job when they went into prison, and most don't have any formal qualifications.

As the Whanganui community is well aware, most prisoners are going to be released at some stage, so we need to do everything we can to make sure they don't reoffend when they get out.

We want them to reintegrate into, and contribute to, the communities they live in on release.

Working prisons will give more prisoners the opportunity to get work experience and gain qualifications to increase their chances of finding employment after release.

We will be establishing working prisons at Auckland Women's Corrections, Rolleston and Tongariro/Rangipo prisons.

Prisoners will have a structured 40-hour week of employment and rehabilitation.

These prisons will contribute to National's priority to deliver better public services, as will our changes to police.

Out on the street, the number of frontline police foot patrols has risen by 70 per cent nationwide from 2011 to 2012.

In the Central Police District, which includes Whanganui and South Taranaki, the number of patrols has increased 73 per cent.

The huge increase in foot patrols, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, the Prevention First Strategy, and the 600 additional frontline officers delivered by the National-led Government are all contributing to our falling crime rate - which is at a 30-year low.

New Zealanders deserve to feel safe in their homes.

And National is supporting this through a comprehensive programme to protect communities, and prevent crime.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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