Corrections is thanking more than 1,700 volunteers who give their time to help prisoners and offenders turn their lives around for International Volunteer Day.

“What better way to celebrate the day than to acknowledge the valuable work volunteers play in providing opportunities for offenders in education, employment and rehabilitation,” National Commissioner Rachel Leota says.

Corrections’ 9,000 staff manage about 40,000 individuals either in prison or serving a sentence in the community. Assisting the Department are more than 1,700 registered volunteers, who made more than 18,000 prison visits in the 2016/17 financial year.

“It’s great we can combine our own resources with such a great group of volunteers who share our commitment to changing the lives of New Zealanders,” she says.

Volunteers offer varied opportunities for offenders in areas such as literacy and numeracy education, art, drama, sewing, knitting, life skills, cooking, budgeting, hobbies and fitness, as well as offering reintegration support and providing cultural and religious services.

“Volunteers are vital to Corrections’ work. Helping offenders to move towards a crime-free future requires the support of many.

“It isn’t something we can do alone,” Mrs Leota says.

“Volunteers bring diversity, community perspective and connection. They also support the goal of reducing re-offending by assisting offenders to meet their rehabilitative needs and transition back into the community.”

As part of International Volunteer Day, which is today, Tuesday 5 December, Corrections is acknowledging volunteers with varied events, including afternoon and morning teas, picnics and BBQs. “International Volunteer Day is a great time to say a big thank you to the thousand of selfless people who volunteer for Corrections and recognise their commitment to help offenders learn new skills and reconnect with their communities.”