Virtual visits at New Plymouth Community Corrections are connecting Taranaki families with their loved ones in Whanganui Prison.

Friends and family who are unable to get to Whanganui Prison to visit are able to use the audio visual link (AVL) facilities at New Plymouth Community Corrections to see their families.

As part of National Volunteers Week, which runs from 18 to 25 June, Corrections acknowledged the commitment and dedication of the Taranaki PARS volunteers who help support the virtual visits twice weekly. The PARS staff sit in an adjoining room and alert Community Corrections staff should there be technical or safety issues. They provide a welcoming and familiar face to visitors at the site.

“For some people it can require up to a two hour drive to get to the prison. Allowing families visits via AVL can make keeping in contact a lot easier,”says Corrections’ District Manager Coralea Easther.

“We know how important it is for prisoners to maintain relationships with their family and friends. The support of their whanau plays a significant part in reducing the likelihood of them returning to prison.”

“We are delighted to have the support of the Taranaki PARS staff to help these families who may not be able to get to the prison to visit,” says Coralea.

“The prisoners and their families are very grateful for their help as well.”

President of Taranaki PARS Suzanne Eagles says she was pleased to receive the award.

“The volunteers are more than happy to help families stay connected,” says Suzanne. “They see it as a vital part of the offenders reintegration back into the community.”