Supportive approach gets better results

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 12/07/2014

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Fewer people are breaching their community work sentences in Timaru.

There are 10 per cent less people being breached for non-compliance with community work compared with about two years ago, according to Timaru probation office service manager Murray McMurtrie, of Community Corrections.

He said the probationary service had a more "supportive" approach in helping get offenders through their sentences, which he believed was helping.

However, those people are still held accountable, he said.

A drop in offenders now going through court had also contributed to improved rates, he said.

In some cases those offenders would be dealt with in a different way by police before getting to court, which could include pre-charge warnings. "We're taking a real shift in our focus of how we manage our offenders."

Some of the most recent offenders serving community work sentences have been put through scaffolding and forklift driver training courses.

"Seventeen offenders attended that. They all completed the courses - it was really great."

Those who have shift work are also given leniency to complete their community work during their days off.

"Our numbers have gone down and, of course, so has the breach [of community work]. There is a positive spin coming out of that."

A transport service is provided to offenders in the Geraldine and Temuka areas twice a week. A work party also operates once a week from Waimate.

Rehabilitation plans are offered to offenders to help them change their lives, including programmes addressing alcohol and drug problems, and family violence.

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- The Timaru Herald

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