Supporting offenders into employment has earned Waverley Sawmills managing director Peter Martin a community work partnership award from the Department of Corrections.
“This award reflects the partnership we’ve developed with Peter over the years,” says Coralea Easther, District Manager Whanganui/Taranaki Community Corrections.
Over the last five years, Mr Martin has employed close to 40 men on the Release to Work programme from Whanganui Prison. On release many of these men moved into employment outside of the region. Five former prisoners are currently employed at Waverley Sawmills on a full time basis, with more participating in the Release to Work scheme.
“Even though someone has a conviction, Peter recognised they have skills, a willingness to work and a desire to support themselves and their families,” says Ms Easther.
“Research shows that sustainable employment reduces re-offending, leading to safer communities.”
Corrections staff make sure Peter is matched with eligible offenders who are work-ready and a good fit for his working environment. He’s supported by prison and Community Corrections staff to ensure the offenders are good employees and keep to their release and sentence conditions.
Mr Martin says over time he’s got to know offenders’ work skills, personal skills and character traits.
“They want to improve themselves,” he says. “They want to turn their lives around. Their absentee rates are very low because they want to work.”
Corrections Lower North Regional Commissioner Paul Tomlinson presented Mr Martin with the award during a presentation at Whanganui Community Corrections on Tuesday 4 July.
Corrections manages offenders to hold them to account, ensure they 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.
More information about employing offenders can be found here.