Criminals to get help after their release

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2013

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A new nationwide reintegration programme for prisoners to help reduce reoffending is expected to be implemented in Invercargill and Otago this year.

Budget 2013 made $10 million available over two years from the Justice Sector Fund to establish the new Out of Gate programme.

The post-release service will support prisoners as soon as they leave a facility.

The programme will be offered to some prisoners and is aimed at steering criminals away from reoffending.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said up to 4000 prisoners nationwide, serving sentences of less than two years, would be allocated a dedicated provider who would connect them to social service agencies and help with accommodation, employment and general living skills.

"We are putting a huge effort into giving offenders education and training opportunities, alongside drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

"But we don't want all of that great work undone within a few days of their release, at what can be a crucial time for many offenders."

The programme followed discussions between Corrections and justice sector groups with implementation due to begin in September.

"The programme will be evaluated as we go along, to ensure that it is effective in helping us reach our target of a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017," Ms Tolley said. 

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- The Southland Times

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