Hawera has a brand new Community Corrections building that will be safer for staff, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
The building is part of a five-year nationwide renewal programme to make Community Corrections sites more secure.
Ms Upston said the purpose-built building has the best modern facilities and security of any new Community Corrections site in the country.
“The building offers a safer working environment for staff as well as having facilities that encourage positive interactions with offenders and their families.
“The safety and security features at Hawera Community Corrections include CCTV monitoring, a main entrance that can be remotely locked, duress alarms and swipe card access to staff-only areas,” says Ms Upston.
The new site also includes an improved community work area and dedicated rooms where work and living skills programmes as well as rehabilitation, motivation and maintenance programmes can be delivered. A new whanau room provides a comfortable space where staff can meet families of offenders.
“Hawera staff have the tools and resources to manage offenders and keep the community safe,” Ms Upston says.
The 14 staff at the site manage 286 offenders on 339 community-based sentences and orders including home detention and community work.
The building was officially opened today by Corrections chief executive Ray Smith.
More than 30,000 offenders are serving community-based sentences at any given time. Community Corrections supports these people to motivate them to make changes in their lives and give back to their communities.
A Christchurch family in need will have a new home and prisoners from Rolleston Prison have gained life-changing skills, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
The Minister visited the Rolleston Prison construction yard today where she saw the 50th house refurbished by prisoners for social housing.
The Yard Project is a partnership between Corrections and Housing New Zealand which provides community offenders and prisoners with qualifications and skills for employment. It also helps rejuvenate social housing stock and enables offenders to contribute to the rebuilding of Canterbury.
“It is a huge accomplishment for the men to have refurbished 50 houses, and an enormous boost to the wider community. It changes their lives and the lives of the people who move into these houses and make them into homes,” says Ms Upston.
Prisoners learn new skills and earn qualifications for employment on release while working in the yard. Trades taught include basic carpentry and joinery, plastering, painting, roof-fixing and insulation installation.
“Learning vital trade skills that are sorely needed in the community means these men leave prison as more employable people,” Ms Upston says.
“Supporting prisoners into stable employment is key to improving the lives of offenders, their families, whanau and the wider community.”
More than six years on from the first Canterbury quake, the need for refurbished housing is reducing and there are fewer houses to be sourced from the Red Zone.
The prison is investigating other partnering options and construction opportunities in the building and fit-out of portable buildings.
Putaruru, Turangi and more parts of Taupo will benefit from a boost to the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, Local MP Louise Upston says.
The Government yesterday announced it was investing $300 million to expand the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme to an additional 151 towns across New Zealand, plus 43 suburban fringe areas around the larger centres which were covered by the first phase of the programme.
“For our regions, this means the Taupo fringe and airport, Turangi and Putaruru will gain access to UFB,” Ms Upston says.
“High quality internet makes a difference to the way we run our local businesses, with access to the digital economy and greater commercial opportunities. In schools, students and teachers can benefit from online learning resources and explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning. It also brings convenience and efficiency to our everyday lives.
“The Government recognises the role of high quality internet in driving economic and social growth. We are working hard to deliver the best possible telecommunications infrastructure to all New Zealanders.”
Phase one of the UFB programme has already brought fibre access to more than a million households and businesses in 38 towns and cities across New Zealand including Taupo, Tokoroa and Cambridge.
“This expansion brings us closer to achieving our target of bringing faster broadband and better mobile coverage to 99 per cent of New Zealanders by 2025,” Ms Upston says.
Offenders across New Zealand completed more than 1.8 million hours of community work last year, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
A community work sentence requires offenders to complete a set number of hours of unpaid work which benefits the community.
“I am delighted to see those on community work sentences engaging in constructive activities aimed at positive change in themselves and helping their communities,” says Ms Upston.
“People sentenced to community work can use the opportunity to take responsibility for their offending and learn new skills and work habits.”
Offenders can be required to do between 40 and 400 hours of community work and can work up to 10 hours a day, or up to 40 hours in any one week. Sentences can include activities such as painting, gardening, building, graffiti-cleaning, restoration and recycling and the maintenance of public land.
“Community work can give offenders valuable skills and knowledge which may help them to gain paid employment later. We know stable employment can be a key to offenders maintaining crime-free lives. Community work is positive for offenders and for the communities they live and work in,” Ms Upston says.
Community work projects in 2016 included:
- Offenders from Ohakune, Raetihi and Taumarunui contributed around 720 hours to the development of the Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park which opened last October.
- Community work parties in Nelson helped with the Department of Conservation refurbishment project at Albion Square and supported the Sports Fishing for Youth Trust with maintenance of the fishing ponds and surrounding area.
- Community-based offenders from west Auckland have been completing their community work sentences at the Green Bay New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust, helping injured birds receive a new lease on life.
- 40 Te Awamutu community work offenders have begun a restoration project to plant more than 3500 native plants along the Puniu River as part of a key initiative of Waikato Regional Council and Sustainable Coastlines.
Community work is one of nine community-based sentences and orders managed by the Department of Corrections. It is supervised and is done in groups or individually.