26 Oct 2012

Only faith-based prison unit to close

3:30 pm on 26 October 2012

The country's only faith-based prison unit is being shut down.

The unit, at Rimutaka Prison in Upper Hutt, currently holds 57 inmates and costs $400,000 a year to run.

The Corrections Department has decided it will close next month, because an evaluation has found that it has had no measurable impact on reducing reoffending.

The Christian organisation Prison Fellowship has run the programme since it began in 2003.

Its director, Robin Gunston, says the closure does away with a positive place where inmates become motivated to take accountability for their actions and to change.

He says the unit is a casualty of the Government's target of a 25% reduction in the reoffending rate by 2017.