Eight women in the Arohata Upper Prison (near Rimutaka Prison) are gaining practical skills by painting vacant wings under the instruction of the Offender Employment painting instructor.

Prisoners paint a vacant wing at Arohata Upper Prison.Two wings, with 28 cells each, are being painted as the site is refreshed to accommodate female prisoners.

Sanding and painting are some of the skills the women are learning says the instructor James Faraimo, who’s teaching them the acrylic enamel paint system on concrete substrate.

A prisoner painting a vacant cell at Arohata Upper Prison.“Four of the women haven’t picked up a paintbrush before, so this is a new experience for them, and they’ve picked it up within a week. For all of the women involved, as well as the practical skills, they’re also learning about working in a team and communicating with each other.”

Jane* and Lisa* are working in pairs painting a cell: while one cuts in, the other rolls.  Jane’s had no painting experience and says she “loves it”. “I’m learning how to paint, how to clean a brush, how to prepare the substrate.”  Lisa, who has had experience painting in another prison, is also enjoying the work, adding “we’re a good team”.

* not their real names