5 Oct 2011

Maori rehab unit 'learning experience'

8:30 pm on 5 October 2011

The Corrections Department says the day-to-day running of the first rehabilitation and re-integration unit for Maori prisoners has been a learning experience for all concerned.

Te Whare Oranga Ake, which is outside the wire at Hawke's Bay regional prison southwest of Hastings, opened in mid-July with the aim of giving inmates the skills to cope with every day life outside jail.

Rehabilitation and re-integration manager Alison Thom says the partnership between a Maori community provider, Prison Services and the inmates has generally worked well.

She says it's been an interesting process involving whanau in the re-integration process for prisoners, as many of the relationships have been quite strained.

Ms Thom says at this stage the 16-bed unit is not at full capacity, but that should change by the end of October.