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New scheme to help prisoners find work

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/10/2016

The government is putting more than $15 million into a scheme aimed at helping prisoners into work when they're released.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says released prisoners are one of her department's most complex and challenging groups.

"Eighty per cent are still on a benefit 12 months after release and many stay on a benefit long-term, meaning that over their lifetime they have a $30,000 higher benefit liability than the general population."

Corrections Minister Judith Collins says reducing re-offending is one of her department's prime goals.

"We know that having a job can stop people from committing crime, initiatives such as this will go a long way to helping us achieve our targets."

Under the scheme, $15.4m will go into a three-year trial.

Work and Income case managers and professionals will work with up to 200 prisoners at a time, beginning 10 weeks before release and for 12 months after release.

They'll develop individual plans to get them into employment and help them access training and support services.

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