The Associate Minister of Corrections says the launch of the first rehabilitation and re-integration unit for inmates in New Zealand, is the realisation of a dream.
Pita Sharples says the Whare Oranga Ake unit at Hawke's Bay prison will provide a wholly kaupapa Maori environment, for selected prisoners nearing the end of their sentence.
He says "Whare Oranga Ake ... repatriates inmates with their families, with a whanau group of support but also with the skills to survive and with a job when they leave this place".
Mr Sharples says the Whare Oranga concept is a brave move for the Department of Corrections, but long overdue.
The facility which is due to be built by July, will initially accommodate 16 inmates with expansion possible to 32.