Accommodation on release poses ‘significant challenge’

Finding accommodation for offenders lawfully required to be released from prison was one of Corrections’ most significant challenges, said operations director Matire Kupenga-Wanoa.

The decision to not proceed with the use of a property in Abbott St for supported accommodation of offenders was made as a result of ongoing communication with residents, and with consideration for the ability to deliver effective reintegration services at the address, she said.

“We work hard to balance any public concerns with our obligation to safely manage offenders in the community when they can no longer lawfully be detained in prison. More than 15,000 offenders were released from prison last year.”

Corrections was unable to supply the actual numbers it had to house from last year in the time frame for this story, but said the vast majority of offenders released from prison each year return home to family or make their own arrangements about where to live.

“The reality is that without supported accommodation, these offenders would be homeless — which would present an unacceptable safety risk to communities.”

Ms Kupenga-Wanoa said where an offender was legally required to live in the community, Corrections was responsible to manage their compliance with any parole board or court-imposed conditions, and to reintegrate and rehabilitate the offender.

“Conditions offenders must comply with can include GPS, reporting regularly to community probation, restrictions on living and working arrangements, and restrictions on associating with certain people. Conditions can also be imposed to address any specific risks the offender poses or to address their individual needs.

“The safety of communities is paramount in any decisions we make. We actively manage the compliance of offenders with their conditions, and will hold them to account if they breach.”

“In recent years, in response to an increasing shortage of supply of options in the housing market for challenging or hard-to-place offenders, we have increased our investment in accommodation and support services from $3.8 million in 2016 to more than $7m a year.”

“Nationwide we contract almost 1100 emergency, transitional and supported accommodation places each year, delivered by service providers across the country. Accommodation is mainly in individual one-bedroom flats, or in a home-like setting for between two and four people.

“Service providers work with offenders to transition them from prison into the community by helping them to develop a reintegration plan, find sustainable accommodation, source employment, and reconnect with the community.

“We are looking to purchase more supported accommodation so we can support more offenders into sustainable housing,” she said.

More widely, the Government has approved an additional $57 million for housing options to be determined by Housing New Zealand and Corrections to support the release of prisoners who otherwise struggle to achieve appropriate accommodation.

Finding accommodation for offenders lawfully required to be released from prison was one of Corrections’ most significant challenges, said operations director Matire Kupenga-Wanoa.

The decision to not proceed with the use of a property in Abbott St for supported accommodation of offenders was made as a result of ongoing communication with residents, and with consideration for the ability to deliver effective reintegration services at the address, she said.

“We work hard to balance any public concerns with our obligation to safely manage offenders in the community when they can no longer lawfully be detained in prison. More than 15,000 offenders were released from prison last year.”

Corrections was unable to supply the actual numbers it had to house from last year in the time frame for this story, but said the vast majority of offenders released from prison each year return home to family or make their own arrangements about where to live.

“The reality is that without supported accommodation, these offenders would be homeless — which would present an unacceptable safety risk to communities.”

Ms Kupenga-Wanoa said where an offender was legally required to live in the community, Corrections was responsible to manage their compliance with any parole board or court-imposed conditions, and to reintegrate and rehabilitate the offender.

“Conditions offenders must comply with can include GPS, reporting regularly to community probation, restrictions on living and working arrangements, and restrictions on associating with certain people. Conditions can also be imposed to address any specific risks the offender poses or to address their individual needs.

“The safety of communities is paramount in any decisions we make. We actively manage the compliance of offenders with their conditions, and will hold them to account if they breach.”

“In recent years, in response to an increasing shortage of supply of options in the housing market for challenging or hard-to-place offenders, we have increased our investment in accommodation and support services from $3.8 million in 2016 to more than $7m a year.”

“Nationwide we contract almost 1100 emergency, transitional and supported accommodation places each year, delivered by service providers across the country. Accommodation is mainly in individual one-bedroom flats, or in a home-like setting for between two and four people.

“Service providers work with offenders to transition them from prison into the community by helping them to develop a reintegration plan, find sustainable accommodation, source employment, and reconnect with the community.

“We are looking to purchase more supported accommodation so we can support more offenders into sustainable housing,” she said.

More widely, the Government has approved an additional $57 million for housing options to be determined by Housing New Zealand and Corrections to support the release of prisoners who otherwise struggle to achieve appropriate accommodation.

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