16 May 2012
Waikeria prisoners have been trained in first aid as part of a drive to help remand prisoners improve their chances of living crime-free and securing employment upon release.
Inside the wire at Waikeria Prison four groups of around nine to 12 prisoners, housed in the site’s remand units, have successfully completed the Workplace First Aid course delivered by Fire and Rescue New Zealand.
Waikeria Prison Manager Kevin Smith says the introduction of the course was the result of a decision to identify prisoners’ needs from the very beginning of their time in prison.
“We know that being in prison can mean relationships are damaged and lives are uprooted, so it’s important that we try to ensure that the experience of being on remand doesn’t lead offenders into further offending.”
Prisoners who complete the course gain three NZQA unit standards, relating to managing an emergency situation, and providing first aid and resuscitation. The men also learn how to use a defibrillator.
“For some of the prisoners involved in this course this was the first time they had achieved any qualification, or even participated effectively in a learning environment,” Mr Smith says.
“They are very willing to take part in the learning, it adds some structure to their days. I’ve seen an attitude change in the prisoners - they show their appreciation for the opportunity to use their time constructively.”
The course is open to any remand prisoner at Waikeria Prison; four groups have already gone through it, another one has just started and five more are planned before the end of the financial year.
51% of prison releases are directly from remand, usually either because the prisoners have served their time while on remand or they are released to carry out a community-based sentence or order.
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