Prison training scheme aims to secure jobs after jail

The Department of Corrections is providing employment training initiatives to Paremoremo inmates to help them secure jobs after they're released. But of the 680 inmates at the prison, just 2% of them will move into employment.

One inmate told Te Kāea he's acquired painting skills under the Department of Corrections employment training scheme.

Inmate 1 (who Te Kāea will name Tama) says, “It's just slowly getting better and better I don't know how to explain it its just needing more time being more patient, focussing on details and that.

The 18 prisons around New Zealand house over 8000 prisoners and over 59% of them participate in employment training.

Inmate 2 (who Te Kāea will name Hori) says, “I'm trying to learn some skills to you know get my own business out there on the outside, own my own business.”

Here at Auckland prison, around 90% of prisoners are in various trade training programmes. But only 2% will secure full-time employment.

Northern Regional Commissioner for Corrections Jeanette Burns says, “Upon release they're small numbers at the moment, around probably 2 percent at the moment.”

The Department of Corrections has given representatives from the Auckland business community the opportunity to learn how prisoners are prepared for employment after their release. But securing jobs for some offenders will be difficult.

RMTS Operations Manager Brenda Frederick  says, “If we're going for drivers, anyone that’s got a serious criminal record for child abuse or anything like that because they have to go through a police vetting so of course that comes up against them, serious fraud is another major one.”

Frederick says her company is still open to employing inmates. Meanwhile, Corrections is encouraging new employers to provide jobs for prisoners.