From the General Manager's Office
Nga mihi mahana ki a koutou ki tanei panui pai rawa atu o CorrVolunteer. A warm welcome to another action-packed issue of CorrVolunteer.
This issue again gives some superb examples of generous volunteers giving their time to others.
Additionally, we have an article reminding you about the new entry system for visiting a prison: your paperwork including a current induction and Ministry of Justice check will need to be updated and completed, as the four-week grace period will no-doubt fly by.
As always, the senior management team and I here at Corrections are wholly appreciative of the voluntary work you are doing in helping guide offenders to an offence-free lifestyle. Each interaction you have with offenders is an opportunity to impart practical skills that may assist with their rehabilitation and reintegration; be it reading together; drama/role play; knitting, sports/movement, music; any interaction whatsoever.
One of the goals Corrections has set is to reduce our current offending rates by 10 per cent over the next four years. Collectively, as one team, we can all help to make that difference.
Thank you again for your efforts, they are much appreciated. Nga mihi ano ki a koutou e mahi nei I te mahi, te mutunga ka mai o te rawe e hoa ma.
25 years of giving
Leen Lokum has been a church volunteer at Waikeria Prison for 25 years and has recently retired.
Leen, from Gouda in Holland, has held two services of fellowship per month during this lengthy period. Leen started volunteering because his minister was overbooked and asked Leen to fill in for him at Waikeria. Leen deliberated, “but I felt I had to do it.”
“My great excitement was that although I came to minister to the men, I was always ministered to myself by the men attending.” At his retirement lunch, Leen spoke of the “immense reward from prison visits through prisoner (and ex-prisoner) feedback on many occasions.”
Having always greatly enjoyed meeting other church volunteers at the prison on Sundays, Leen “will miss both the fellowship and the ministry.”
Waikeria Prison Chaplain Alan Chapman-Smith said Leen “has given excellent service to Waikeria and his efforts have been greatly appreciated.”
Getting into Prison
The much anticipated electronic Authorised Prisoner Provider Entry (APPE) has arrived!
It has been up and running across the three Wellington area prisons since Monday 12 September, with all other prisons going live on Monday 10 October.
Many of you will already be using your APPE ID card and all of you should have been contacted by your Volunteer Co-ordinator, Area Advisor M?ori, or Regional Advisor Pacific to set up a time to take your photo. If you haven’t, please contact them.
For those volunteers who have not been issued with a new card there will be a four-week grace period after the go-live date to have your photograph taken and to ensure that your induction, Ministry of Justice check are current to get your new ID card issued.
Please note that once the grace period expires (on 10 October or 7 November depending when the prison began using the new system), you will not be able to get inside a prison using the old system. You will have to organise a time with your local RRS staff contact to get your photo taken and wait until the new ID card is issued before you can enter a prison.
After APPE has been rolled out to volunteers, Fautua Pasefika and Kaiwhakamana, other groups of non-Departmental staff such as programme providers, Kaitiaki, and Chaplains will be issued with their cards.
If you’d like to know more about APPE pick up an information sheet titled Information on APPE from the gatehouse.
An evening to celebrate
Spring Hill Corrections Facility (SHCF) and Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility (ARWCF) recently joined forces for an evening to celebrate their volunteers’ contribution to Corrections’ work.
About 140 volunteers attended the evening which was held to celebrate volunteers’ efforts, connect like-minded people, acknowledge their energy and their commitment to offenders; and to highlight how their work influences the wider community.
The evening co-incided with Te Reo o Te Wiki and the theme of Manaakitanga, or how we look after and support our volunteers.
A number of guest speakers addressed the volunteers and commended them for giving so much to the Department without any expectations other than their own, which is to help change lives.
The Church of Hephzibah group provided some of the entertainment with cultural and choir performances. “This was a talented group which really lifted the atmosphere with their energy and passion for performing,” said Volunteer Co-ordinator Francine Benefield.
Tears of Love
Kaiwhakamana Joe Patea and his wife Nan (ex Salvation Army officers) had held Sunday services and korero with the men at the Rimutaka Maori Focus Unit (MFU) for a number of years. Sadly, earlier this year, Joe passed away.
Joe's widow, Nan, returned to the MFU at Rimutaka at the end of July for the first time since Joe's death.
Many Unit members received Nan, her son and their two supporters from the Salvation Army, for her first service in many months. A mihi whakatau was facilitated to welcome Nan back. "The speakers from the Unit were a real credit to the MFU and its tutors," said Mike Sweeney, Area Advisor Maori at Rimutaka.
A huge circle was formed and every prisoner in it stood and articulated their aroha back to Nan, her son and supporters. In return, Nan's son and the two students performed Haka Karaitiana, which Joe and Nan had taught them last year. "The students being able to articulate themselves in te reo was a true testimony to Joe and Nan's efforts."
“Joe and Nan’s dual role as Kaiwhakamana and Salvation Army members have really enhanced their ability to interact and engage with Maori,” said Mike.
The tears of love certainly ran freely on that particular day.
Bowls at Rolleston
For over 22 years the Salvation Army has been visiting Rolleston Prison to play Indoor Bowls with the prisoners.
The team interact with a group of approximately 15 prisoners every month: “The respect and sportsmanship they all have for each other was very good to see,” says Tracey Smith, Volunteer Co-ordinator. “I would like to acknowledge the efforts this group has made through rain, shine, snow and earthquakes over the years.”
Students help prisoners get physical
Otago Corrections Facility has benefited from two student groups keen to get prisoners moving!
One group from the Institute of Sport is helping out in the gym, and it was their own choice to take part in this volunteer project. “This initiative comes at an important time as the prisons are going through the introduction of ‘smoke free’, so it’s great in helping prisoners to concentrate on keeping busy and staying healthy,” says Tracey Smith.
The second group are setting up constructive activities for prisoners to do in their own units, including quizzes, debating groups and indoor sporting activities.
All of the students are keen but also very aware of the difficulties involved in working in a prison environment. “They’re looking forward to encouraging prisoners to occupy and expand their minds - and push themselves in different areas to increase their ability to engage in pro-social group activities … contributing towards their future rehabilitation and reintegration,” says Tracey.
Introducing two new team members...
Olivia McCarthy is the new Volunteer Co-ordinator at Auckland Prison, having been in the role for over four months.
Prior to joining Corrections, Olivia was an Associate Pastor at her local Baptist Church, where a substantial percentage of her time was working with teams of volunteers.
"Volunteers bring something special to the programme," says Olivia. "I'm looking forward to working with the volunteers at Auckland Prison and finding new opportunities for volunteering here," she says.
Karen Tipa began work at the Northland Region Corrections Facility (NRCF) recently, as a part-time Volunteer Co-ordinator. Karen is a trained teacher, and has studied law and dispute resolution. She is also a qualified mediator.
Karen says “I believe our existing faith-based volunteer group at NRCF is strong and I have had great support from our chaplaincy team. Once I am more familiar with the organisation, I hope to encourage participation from new people in the community in order to offer more diversity for volunteer roles here in the future.”
Welcome aboard, Olivia and Karen. We hope you enjoy the challenges and new experiences the role will undoubtedly bring.