From the General Manager's office

Nga mihi o te wa, a, nau mai ki tenei putanga mutunga o CorrVolunteer mo te tau 2011.

 Seasons greetings and welcome to this final issue of CorrVolunteer for 2011.

It was International Volunteer Day on 5 December, an important day to acknowledge volunteers in all parts of the community. I trust that you were able to attend some of the events that were organised to celebrate this day.

It is wonderful to see that the APPE System has now been implemented nationally. This is a  significant step forward. I would like to thank you all for your part in making the implementation of this system a success.

At this time of year the faith-based volunteering that many of you are actively involved in is particularly important and very much appreciated. We could not provide these services without you.

Looking forward to 2012, we will be exploring how we can work with you all more effectively to maximise your efforts to support offenders’ rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community.

Again, our grateful thanks to you from the senior management team.  Have an enjoyable and safe festive season. 

He mihi ano tenei na nga kaiwhakahaere matua. Kia harakoakoa, kia taumaru a koutou haerenga i enei ra whakata o te tau.

Alison Thom, General Manager, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services

APPE system is now live!

After months of planning, the Authorised Prisoner Provider Entry (APPE) is now fully installed and operating in all prisons nationally. 

'The APPE team’ at Rimutaka Prison: Custodial Systems Coach Dennis Paki, Volunteer Co-ordinator Jenny Grant and Chaplain Richard Clement.This is a wonderful milestone and is a result of a lot of work by many people in all parts of the Department including Rehabilitation and Reintegration, Prison Services, National Office Staff, our external providers and of course all the volunteers, including Kaiwhakamana and Fautua Pasefika. This has been a great example of one team working together.

For Volunteer Co-ordinators, Area Advisors Maori, Regional Advisors Pacific, Chaplains and Prison staff the implementation of APPE has been a big project.

Details of approved volunteers were checked before being loaded onto the new system, Ministry of Justice clearance’s updated, large numbers of inductions held nationally, over 2,500 photos taken, ID Cards printed and then distributed prior to the end of the grace period for each prison.

Volunteers have played their role by completing extra forms, attending inductions if required, traveling to get photos taken and then picking up their new ID cards.

The three prisons in the Wellington region went first in September, one month later the rest of the country went live in October. Volunteer Co-ordinator for Wellington Area Prisons Jenny Grant says the introduction of the system had gone well overall.  “Once volunteers have their cards, they appreciate how much easier it is. We definitely had our challenges along the way, but I am lucky that the volunteers have been really patient and understanding.”

The APPE ID cards are required for providers to present to the gatehouse at all prisons, to verify that they are the person that they say they are and that they are approved to enter a prison (or not!). The card replaces the need to carry any other form of identification or verification that you are an approved volunteer. It does not replace the need to pre-arrange your visits to each site, you should still continue to make arrangements to go to each prison in the same way.

By now all volunteers, Kaiwhakamana and Fautua Pasefika should have their own ID card.  If you haven’t or you have any questions about your ID cards, please contact your Volunteer Co-ordinator or Area Advisor, as you will not be able to enter prison without it.

So, a big thank you to everyone involved.

New Gatehouse at Hawke's Bay

Staff and volunteers at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison are celebrating the opening of their new Access Control Facility.

Corrections Officer Ashley York proudly operates the new x-ray machine.This long-awaited facility is a key security measure to keep everyone safe and it is a big improvement on the old system where staff and visitors alike had to wait and queue outside in all weathers. It is also a great improvement on the entry process - no more trudging up to the main jail to sign in and little slips of yellow paper to sign! 

Hawke’s Bay is now home to some state-of-the-art equipment, including a walk through metal detector, x-ray machine and APPE card scanner. The walk-through metal detector is proving to be very sensitive, with all metal items having to be removed and put separately through the x-ray machine, including belts, shoes and watches.  You have to walk through the x-ray without triggering it before you are allowed to proceed.

If any of the Hawke’s Bay volunteers have metal body parts, we need to have a short note from your Doctor, so we can enter this on your profile on the APPE system.  This will alert the security staff as to why you are triggering the metal detector machine.

Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games

Volunteers are required for these games due to be held in Lower Hutt on 2- 9 March 2012.

 Corrections ‘athletes’ (staff) will compete against fellow sportspeople from agencies such as Police, Fire, Customs and St John competing in 39 sports including basketball, cricket, cycling, darts, swimming and tennis.

A number of functions will be occurring during the week including one to thank all the volunteers.

Games organisers are looking for volunteers to help as sports assistants, in hospitality, registration and administration. If you are interested, call Glen Southwood on (04) 238 3381 or email glen@policesport.org.nz

Artistic talents flourishing

A group of 10 volunteers in the Canterbury region are facilitating art sessions with prisoners.

Volunteer Judy Ashton is providing encouragement and support to a select group of prisoners. The Canterbury Region has some very talented artists and a group of Volunteers asked if they could help prisoners to create art by expressing some of their thoughts on canvas.

Prisoners are not allowed to have art materials in their cells so a group of volunteers are now going into the units at Christchurch Men’s prison to supervise art groups in communal areas such as classrooms or gyms to enable the prisoners to be more creative.

Volunteers are now able to take with them pre- approved items that prisoners do not normally have access to such as supplies of acrylic paints, pastels, pencils, brushes and paper. The prisoners are enjoying the wonderful opportunity to create art with other prisoners and volunteers in a relaxing and supported environment. 

Sharing in a safe environment

For the past year-and-a-half, volunteers from Alcoholics Anonymous have been holding weekly meetings with prisoners at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility who have an honest desire to stop drinking. 

The meetings vary in size from a few to sometimes a dozen offenders. As well as an opportunity to be of service, many of the AA members that come into the meetings find them invaluable for their own recovery from alcoholism. Here is one volunteer’s experience:

“One day at a meeting, a special experience touched me enormously. We were reading Alcoholics Anonymous, and the section 'surrender and faith' held much significance to where I was at, on the day. As I shared, I tried to hold the tears back, alas that did not happen, they flowed freely, and I shared that the reading hit exactly the spot it needed to, for me, at that moment. I observed several women share tears of their own, and as others shared, so too the tears came, and a raw sense of honesty and gratitude filled the room. Tears of gratitude, of surrender, of acceptance and relief. It was the most powerful, inspirational and incredible AA meeting I have been to.

“I can honestly say, it is always such an honor and privilege to share a part of the women’s journey in sobriety, and to watch them unfold like a flower blossoming, so gently, and often freely, yet at times, like us all, fear creeps in. As each meeting unfolds, like any AA meeting, the women settle into a sense of trust and comfort within the room, and share from their heart, their experience, strength and hope, and support others within the room.  As the weeks pass by, we have witnessed many women look forward to their weekly AA meeting, and we see that faith helps and action works.” 

The Department is currently reviewing processes to support released offenders to ensure that they have access to information relating to AA meetings within the community.      

Kaiwhakamana enhance garden projects

Kaiwhakamana have recently secured donations from the community to purchase seeds for the five Rimutaka Prison gardens.

Donated cabbage seedlings. Presbyterian Maori Pastorate, Upper Hutt Lagan Pharmacy, Associated Anglican Women’s Fellowship and the Egmont Nurseries in New Plymouth all responded to a request for donations. These will be used to support the establishment of a greenhouse, to cultivate seedlings which will then be grown in the prison gardens at Rimutaka.

A new Code of Conduct

By now you should all have received, via email or in the post, a copy of the Department’s newly introduced Code of Conduct. 

 It’s great news that volunteers are included within the Code, a true recognition of your significant contribution to the work we are all involved in. 

The Code of Conduct applies to all employees, contractors and volunteers.  Staff and unions were consulted to ensure our culture and values are included within the new Code, which has been written to reflect the wider state sector standards. 

Please familiarise yourselves with the new Code, as it applies to us all. Within it, there are sample lists of behaviours that are expected of employees and volunteers. 

Thanks for reading over the new Code and don’t hesitate to contact your Volunteer Co-ordinator if you have any queries or have not received your copy.

Volunteer

Information on volunteering in the Department