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Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says targets for prisoners engaged in education and employment have been exceeded by more than 100 per cent.
During the course of the Prisoner Skills and Employment Strategy 2009-2012, the number of prisoners in vocational training, employment and literacy and numeracy education increased to 7,529 from 5,359 – an increase of 2170 compared to the target of 1000.
“These figures are fantastic and we are determined to do even better,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Research shows that prisoners who are employed after release are less likely to reoffend, so if we can give prisoners the skills they need to succeed in the labour market, we can reduce crime and have fewer victims of crime.
“Other significant successes were a 33 per cent increase in prisoners enrolled in literacy and numeracy programmes, of which 58 per cent are Māori prisoners.
“This focus on skills and education is a key part of the Better Public Service targets for Corrections, which will see a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017. This will lead to 600 fewer prisoners and 4,000 fewer community offenders being reconvicted every year, and 18,500 fewer victims every year.
“The next five years will see nearly 3,000 additional prisoners in education and employment training, while 7,500 prisoners and community offenders will be given support to find real jobs, in new partnerships with employers and industry.
“By tackling the major contributors to crime, such as prisoner addiction and a lack of education and skills, we can ensure there is less crime and safer communities.”