The tireless efforts of a number of volunteers around the Wellington region were celebrated when Corrections presented the inaugural Volunteer Recognition Awards at Rimutaka Prison today, in association with International Volunteers Day.
Teams and individual volunteers from Rimutaka, Wellington and Arohata Prisons were acknowledged and thanked for their positive contribution to prison life.
Southern Regional Manager Paul Monk believes these awards are extremely important in acknowledging the volunteer’s hard work.
“The amount of time these people freely give is invaluable and I’d like to congratulate today’s award recipients for their efforts and dedication,” he says.
”Many of our volunteers offer constructive activities in prisons and are part of rehabilitative and reintegrative processes available to prisoners, which is vital in reducing re-offending.”
“The existence of a diverse and energetic pool of volunteers brings a community perspective to our services and contributes towards helping offenders to positively return to the community.”
This diversity of experience and knowledge was reflected in the award recipients honoured today. Raiha Ellis is a Kaiwhakamana who works tirelessly with prisoners, their whanau and staff to meet the cultural needs of Maori offenders in the Wellington area.
Other award recipients included an AA group leader, a team of women from the Wellington Quilter’s Guild and others offering bible studies.
The benefits of providing constructive activities for prisoners, such as art and design tuition, cannot be overstated.
Bored prisoners are less likely to positively reintegrate back into society and are more likely to be disruptive and troublesome for Corrections staff. Constructive activities motivate prisoners to change their lives and, for some, the possibility of using newly-learned skills post-release.
Corrections is always looking for new volunteers who can bring constructive activities into prisons. At present there is a particular need for volunteers who can assist with literacy support, creative writing, life skills, health promotion, sports activities and a wide range of arts activities. If you know someone who may be able to help, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (04) 495 8428 for more information.
Notes to reporter:
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