1 Mar 2012

Govt may help ex-inmates get away from gangs

9:21 am on 1 March 2012

The Corrections Minister is not ruling out providing Government funding to help gang members relocate once they've left prison.

The Department of Corrections says the number of prisoners with gang affiliations has doubled in the past five years, which is a huge problem.

Chief executive Ray Smith told a parliamentary select committee on Wednesday that gang-linked inmates he meets overwhelmingly tell him they are too scared to leave their gang.

He said some gang members have told him the biggest help would be to be located away from the gang once they're released from jail.

The minister, Anne Tolley, is not ruling out funding for such a programme, saying she'd be willing to have money spent on any initiative that reduces reoffending.

"There are some opportunities to do some things differently and reduce that cycle of reoffending."

The Labour Party says it's a good idea in principle but questions the practicality and cost of relocating thousands of former inmate gang members.

Labour MP Phil Goff, who is on the the law and order committee, says the problem is not the area the inmate goes to.

"A person comes out of prison, they'll go back to their family and back to their home area, but they'll carry with them out of prison a gang affiliation they never went into prison with, and that's the most serious matter about it."