Prison rehab programme aims to cut reoffending

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2012

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A rehabilitation programme aimed at cutting reoffending rates has been introduced at Invercargill Prison.

The Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme was introduced after the Corrections Department recognised there was a sufficient number of prisoners in need of such a programme.

Corrections rehabilitation and reintegration services regional manager Steve Berry said programme facilitators from the Otago Corrections Facility would travel from Dunedin four times a week for 13 weeks.

The programme was in the assessment phase and participants for the first course were being finalised, Mr Berry said yesterday.

Treatment would begin on May 7, he said.

"Our ultimate goal is to leave fewer victims by cutting the rates of reoffending. We provide several rehabilitation programmes, education, training and employment opportunities, and specialist treatment to offenders in prison and the community."

Offenders with a medium risk of reoffending but with an identified rehabilitation need would be eligible, he said.

The programme targeted anti-social attitudes, offence-related problem thinking and feelings, criminal associates and poor self-control and impulsivity.

Twelve Invercargill prisoners were attending a different programme at the Otago Corrections Facility Drug Treatment Unit, which was a residential programme for prisoners for three to six months, depending on sentence length, and focused on addiction, change and relapse.

The decision to introduce the programme was made before the prison unit refurbishment proposal was announced and, while the two plans were not linked, both targeted reoffending rates, Mr Berry said.nicole.mcdougall@stl.co.nz

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