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Sallies take govt to task on reoffending

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/10/2016

The Salvation Army says poor progress on a target for reducing re-offending by prisoners shows current policy isn't working and more funding of community groups is needed.

The government's hoped-for 25 per cent reduction in re-offending rates has more or less slipped from its grasp, according to the Department of Corrections' 2015/16 annual report, the Salvation Army says.

"The failure is disappointing given the government's efforts to reduce prisoner re-offending but the results are clear proof that the approach to re-integrating and rehabilitating prisoners is just not working," says Colonel Ian Hutson, the Salvation Army's social policy and parliamentary unit director.

Good progress was made between 2012, when the target was set, and February 2014, but it has been downhill since then, says Colonel Hutson.

With only a year to go to get to the 25 per cent reduction, the target now looked almost impossible to achieve, he said.

Re-integration of former prisoners happens in the community, not in prisons, he says.

The government needs to fund NGO and iwi groups to provide released prisoners with support and guidance for months and perhaps years beyond the time they leave prison, he says.

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