Corrections is remaining tight-lipped about a New Plymouth-based prisoner reintegration service, more than a year after its chief executive announced plans for a centre to open in the city.
When New Plymouth Prison closed in March 2012, Corrections head Ray Smith said he wanted New Zealand's first community-based reintegration service to be developed in New Plymouth.
In June 2012 Mr Smith told the Taranaki Daily News the centre would provide recently released prisoners from around the region with education, alcohol and drug treatment and employment support.
He said the centre would be ready in time to open alongside the refurbished New Plymouth police station.
But when the police station officially opened on October 1, the reintegration centre did not, and the details around it remain unclear.
However, it appears some work is being done to get a service off the ground.
In early September, the Salvation Army sought expressions of interest for two roles relating to supporting people recently released from prison.
The roles, advertised in the Taranaki Daily News on September 7, were for an employment coach and a resettlement manager.
The advertisement said it was envisaged the fulltime roles would begin in November 2013.
Salvation Army Captain Gerry Walker, national director of addictions and supportive accommodation services, referred inquiries to the Corrections Department.
A Corrections spokeswoman said the department was not in a position to comment at this stage but it hoped further information would be available for release by the end of next week.
The Government is spending $65 million over the next four years in a bid to reduce reoffending rates by 25 per cent.
Earlier this month Corrections Minister Anne Tolley confirmed the national rollout of the $10m "Out of Gate" service, which would be funded over two years to help released prisoners turn away from a life of crime.
Five providers will support up to 4000 prisoners who serve sentences of less than two years to settle back into the community by helping them with access to employment, accommodation, education and training and social services.
Deena Coster is a Witt journalism student.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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