Tolley marks start of $17m prison upgrade

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014
Invercargill Prison
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ
PRISON PROJECT: Naylor Love project manager Conrad van de Klundert looks on as Corrections Minister Anne Tolley turns the first sod to mark the start of a $17.9 million upgrade at Invercargill Prison.

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While most people inside Invercargill Prison spend the day in a uniform, it was a government minister wearing a multi-coloured dress and gumboots who turned the first sod to mark the beginning of the prison's $17.9 million upgrade.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley was in the city yesterday to take part in a sod-turning ceremony for the upgrade of the century-old prison.

She was joined by Corrections acting chief executive Christine Stevenson, Invercargill Prison manager Stuart Davie and Corrections national commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot.

The upgrade to improve safety and security at the prison and provide better rehabilitation and training facilities for prisoners is part of an $87m upgrade of five prisons across the country.

Phase one of the Invercargill project includes a new staff amenities facility outside the perimeter fence to make space for trade training inside the prison, audio visual link to courts and new work space for prisoner forestry and grounds maintenance teams.

"This is a significant infrastructure project for Invercargill Prison and shows we are committed to increasing safety and security and totally focused on our target of a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017 by increasing rehabilitation opportunities," Tolley said.

If prisoners could be supported in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, education and skills training they had a much better chance of remaining crime free, Tolley said.

Prisoners would also get the opportunity to be involved in the project, which would give them employment experience, she said.

The project, broken down into four stages, is expected to be complete by the end of 2016. 

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- The Southland Times

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