Offenders straighten up with specialised driving programme

Press Release – The Howard League for Penal Reform

Wednesday 31 January 2018

Waitakere offenders on the straight and narrow with specialised driving programme

Over 200 offenders and ex-prisoners have been given a second chance with a driving programme in Waitakere aimed at helping young people off the pathway to prison and a life of crime.

NZ Howard League for Penal Reform CEO Mike Williams says the programme, which costs not much more than keeping one person in prison for a year, definitely works and leads to jobs for the participants.

“65% of Maori offenders have a driving offence as part of their initial jail sentence and about 5% of jail sentences are just for driving without a licence. Over 80% of all entry level jobs these days require a drivers’ licence.

“There are no down-sides to this programme. We create safer, legal drivers, we help keep them out of jail and we make them employable; getting them off benefits and saving tax payer money that could well be spent on better things” says Mr Williams.

Transport Ministers Hon Phil Twyford and Hon Julie-Anne Genter are both expected to speak, as is Judge Lisa Tremewan from the West Auckland Drug Court, at the celebration of the second year of the offenders’ driving programme; 12pm, Friday 2 February at the Falls Café, 22 Alderman Drive, Henderson.

Mike Williams says the Waitakere programme is funded by Corrections and is one of three currently being run by the NZ Howard League.

“However, we believe that in terms of bang for buck a New Zealand wide programme should be a high priority for government spending.”

ENDS

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