10 Sep 2015

Building better lives after prison

9:10 am on 10 September 2015

An upgraded community corrections centre in Whanganui will provide more help to reintegrate Māori offenders into society, the Department of Corrections says.

Nearly $3 million has been spent on upgrading the centre.

Corrections spokesperson Tracey Rowe said the focus was on providing literacy and numeracy programmes and health advice, including for problem gambling and smoking.

She said the rehabilitation programmes being offered relied heavily on tikanga principles.

"Those programmes have a real focus on blending the Western models that we know are effective in reducing reoffending but weaving through tikanga processes in that programme."

She said all staff receive cultural supervision.

"And throughout the programme they are weaving for example, the cognitive behavioural models into the tikanga processes, so that those programmes are responsive to the men and women that we work with."

Ms Rowe said the upgraded centre was a positive environment that was very welcoming for the people and staff work with.

The literacy and numeracy programmes focus on helping young Māori get their driver's licences.

"It is a one-day workshop designed for different learning styles and it is quite a hands-on, non-traditional classroom setting, which includes the use of flashcards and model cars".

Ms Rowe said the health initiatives were centred around gaining support and also employment opportunities.

"We have employment and education officers who have a real focus on getting access to education, training and employment for young Māori."

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