Corrections staff with Community Partnership Award recipients. Holding awards (L-R): Henry Stechman, Fire and Emergency New Zealand; Inspector Tracey Thompson, Kapiti Mana area Commander, NZ Police; Catherine Pulford, Upper Hutt City Council Road Safety Team.Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and Upper Hutt City Council have been recognised with a Community Partnership Award from the Department of Corrections.

“The award acknowledges the successful collaboration with our partners in delivering the Alcohol Impairment Education Programme to offenders,” says Wellington District Manager Sue Abraham.

The Alcohol Impairment Education Programme (AIEP) is a one-day motivational and educational programme aimed at preventing driver impairment and encouraging sensible decision-making.

Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and Upper Hutt City Council’s Road Safety Team are partners in the programme with Corrections.

“The programme encourages good decision making around drinking and driving and an understanding of the ‘ripple effect’ poor decision-making can have on families and communities. The intended outcome of the programme is increased road safety which benefits the whole community,” says Ms Abraham.

The programme involves offenders participating in activities while wearing goggles that mirror being under the influence.  Participants also talk to Police, fire fighters, a mortician, and Upper Hutt City Council’s road safety team.  They also see and hear about the consequences of driving after drinking or drug-taking.

“It’s a sobering message that resonates with the offenders we manage. The visual impact of the programme makes them realise they don’t want to become another drink-driving fatality,” says Ms Abraham.

“We’re grateful for the ongoing support of our partners in delivering this programme to offenders in the Wellington district.”

Superintendent Steve Kehoe, Acting Wellington District Commander for NZ Police, says officers are right on the front line dealing with the consequences of poor decision-making.

"The last thing we want to do is deliver bad news to families about their loved ones. This is not only stressful for our staff, but impacts on our whole community."

“Police's role is to ensure everyone is safe and feels safe, and the programme allows important prevention messages to get across to participants,” says Supt. Kehoe.

Lower North Operations Director Matire Kupenga-Wanoa presented the awards to Superintendent Steve Kehoe, Gavin Dumphy, Area Commander, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and Chris Upton, Chief Executive, Upper Hutt City Council at a presentation at Upper Hutt Community Corrections on Tuesday 8 August.

The first programme was held at Orongomai Marae in February 2016.  In total around 80 offenders have participated in the programme, which includes 20 women in Arohata Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit where it was introduced to the prison for the first time last month.

The programme in the Wellington district has been adapted from a similar programme in delivered by Police in the Bay of Plenty.

Community partnership awards are a way for Corrections to acknowledge individuals or organisations with an outstanding commitment to providing meaningful, challenging projects that allow offenders to make up for their offending, learn new skills and behaviours, and provide role models to make a positive difference to others.

Corrections manages offenders to hold them to account to comply with their sentences and orders, reduce their likelihood of re-offending, minimise their risk to others, and help them become productive and contributing members of society.