Cost cuts won't stop prisoner support

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 15:10 25/02/2014

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Former prisoners readjusting to life in the Marlborough community still have support, despite a cut in funding to the Marlborough Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society.

Society president and field worker Steve Collins said it was "business as usual" for their team, who work to reduce barriers for prisoners reintegrating into the region.

Their role includes sourcing accommodation, employment, healthcare and providing financial knowledge and suitable community support for the former prisoners.

Until last month the organisation was funded by a national body, Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Trust, which made the decision to close in December, because of limited funding.

In light of the trust's decision to close, the Department of Corrections will now be funding the initiative.

Offender Employment and Integration director Stephen Cunningham said funds which had been provided by the department to the trust would now be made available to established incorporated societies throughout the country.

"The decision to close is [the trust's] alone and corrections is grateful for their help in ensuring [society] workers and volunteers continue to support prisoners," Mr Cunningham said.

The trust was set up in 2010 to aid prisoners' return into the community after the old New Zealand Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society closed.

The Marlborough branch has been going since 1991 and has one paid staff member and three field work volunteers, as well as a volunteer committee, Mr Collins said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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