The NZ Howard League has helped more than 800 ex-offenders and prisoners in Hawke's Bay turn their lives around with a driving programme.
On Friday they celebrate six years of success in helping people off the pathway to prison and into work.
One of their success stories is a reformed former Mongrel Mob member we will refer to as Pauly. He is an ex-offender and currently on parole.
"I was one of the bad ones and if I can do it, everyone else can do it."
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His checkered past includes being a Mongrel Mob, Gisborne member for nearly 40 years, and drug and alcohol addiction.
He left the mob after his release in March 2019, then moved to Hastings to start afresh.
"I had just finished seven and a half years in prison, and I didn't meet Elly [Elly Guthrie - driving instructor for Howard League] until I got released."
He was introduced to Guthrie through the Salvation Army which was working with ex-offenders.
"Driving helps you, it opens doors. I was an engineer by trade so I started working," he said.
"All inmates, once they get out, need a licence. It gets them to their jobs, helps with their family and work.
"If it wasn't for Howard League I would have just gone back to what I was."
Pauly said most inmates on release were "lost" and didn't know what to do or who to turn to. The driving programme gave them a sense of purpose.
"When you get people like Elly they support you. It's easy to go off-track.
"People like Elly make you want to succeed."
Pauly sat his full-licence test last Friday and was chuffed about passing.
NZ Howard League for Penal Reform CEO Mike Williams said the programme was value for money and cost about the same as keeping one person in prison for a year, a little more than $120,000.
"We only have to keep one person out of jail for a year and the Crown has its money back," Williams said.
The programme covers the costs of getting the correct ID needed for a licence, practice with a qualified driving instructor, paying for the driving tests and providing a car in which to sit the practical tests.
"A driver's licence also gives them identification which is critical for getting a bank account, for signing up for a rental property, and for any other situation where ID is needed," Williams said.
"There are no down-sides to this programme. We create safer, legal drivers, we help keep them out of jail and we make them employable; getting them off benefits."