Budget 2012 will contribute to a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017, and 18,500 fewer victims of crime every year from 2017, Corrections Minister Anne Tolley and Associate Corrections Minister Dr Pita Sharples say.
A boost in alcohol and drug treatment, alongside increased education, skills training and employment programmes for prisoners, including remand prisoners, will lead to safer communities and better value for money for taxpayers.
From 2017, there will also be 600 fewer prisoners in jail than in 2011, and 4,000 fewer community offenders.
“It’s time to get serious about breaking this vicious cycle of prison and reoffending,” Mrs Tolley says.
“Offenders need to be made accountable for their crimes. But while they are in prison and upon their release, we must do more to rehabilitate, and then reintegrate, if they are to avoid a return to crime.”
Reprioritised funding of $65.0 million in operating expenditure over the next four years will contribute to:
- 33,100 additional offenders receiving new and expanded drug and alcohol treatment in prisons and in the community (an increase of almost 500 per cent).
- 7,855 additional prisoners and community offenders receiving new and expanded rehabilitation services (a 230 per cent increase).
- 2,950 additional prisoners in education and employment training (a 30 per cent increase).
- 7,500 prisoners and community offenders to be supported to find real jobs, in new partnerships with employers and industry.
- 41,100 community offenders receiving new rehabilitation support provided directly by probation officers
- 4,120 prisoners and community offenders in new rehabilitation services delivered in partnership with iwi and community groups.
- 6,000 prisoners and community based offenders accessing new reintegration support programmes from iwi and community groups.
“Corrections has looked thoroughly at the way it operates as part of an expenditure review, and has identified the best investments to reduce reoffending,” Mrs Tolley says. “We know that two thirds of prisoners have addiction problems, and that up to 90 per cent can’t read or write well.
“By seriously addressing these major contributors to crime, alongside increased employment opportunities, we can reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
“A 25 per cent reduction in reoffending is bold but achievable, and Budget 2012 delivers on our promise to make communities safer.”
Dr Sharples says this funding represents a significant shift towards rehabilitation and restoration of prisoners to their wh?nau and communities.
“This is a more humane response to offending, and it is cheaper and more effective. Simply sentencing more and more people to longer terms of imprisonment is not sustainable.
“Addressing the drivers of crime, and involving wh?nau and communities in rehabilitating offenders, is the way forward for us.
“These offenders can go on to contribute to society, and by staying away from crime there will be fewer victims, as well as reduced pressure on the justice sector pipeline – and that means a better and more efficient service.
“With the prison population beginning to fall, we can change our approach to Corrections and focus our investments more on those in custody and less on property,” Dr Sharples says.
Gillon Carruthers (Minister Tolley) 021 491 761
Andrew Robb (Minister Sharples) 029 482 8494