Mary Ann France (The Stitch Programme), Jeanette Burns (Northern Regional Commissioner - Corrections) and Janice Nadine accepting on behalf of Stacey Shorthall (The Mothers Programme). Photo credit: Botany and Ormiston TimesEvery year hundreds of volunteers donate their time in New Zealand prisons and community corrections sites to help offenders learn skills and reconnect with their communities.

The annual National Volunteer Week gives Corrections an opportunity to recognise some of the important people who help make change happen.

The theme this year is “Thanks for Making Time” Volunteer Week 2016 (19 to 25 June) “These extraordinary people volunteer their time to make a change in the community,” says National Advisor Volunteers Barbara Jennings. “They complement the rehabilitation and reintegration journey of prisoners and people on community sentences. We cannot thank them enough for the difference they make.”

2016 Award Winners

Mary Ann France  The Stitch Programme
uckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility

Mary Ann France leads a group of volunteers that make up the Quilt-Stitch Group. They have been running Friday and Saturday sessions for eight years and have achieved successes that are nothing short of extraordinary. During this time they received an award from Arts Access Aotearoa , helped with a quilt that is now hanging in Parliament Buildings and exhibited in the “Inside Out” Exhibition.

Stacey Shortall The Mothers Programme
Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility (AWRCF)

Stacey is a partner with the law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts. She has developed a programme to help mothers at ARWCF maintain meaningful connections with their children, reduce their likelihood of re-offending and empower them to make better choices. This is based on a similar programme she was involved in in the United States. The programme has been running at AWRCF for just over a year.

Pip Adam, William Brandt, Gigi Fenster  Write Where You Are
Arohata and Rimutaka Prisons

William Brandt, Gigi Fenster and Pip Adams are part of prison writing collective Write Where You Are. Gigi tutors creative writing at Rimutaka Prison while William teaches at both Arohata with Pip and at Rimutaka.

From February to November 2015 Write Where You Are gave over 35 classes to remand accused women. This represents about 50 hours of teaching time, involving over 20 different women. In 2016 Gigi and William are working with men at Rimutaka Prison, carrying on the work that Gigi started there in 2015.

Christine Langdon – Yoga Teacher
Arohata Prison

Christine has been delivering yoga classes for nearly three years at Arohata, to prisoners in the high security Tizard wing. Christine says one of the key benefits of yoga for the women is the increase in personal well-being and resilience, which can lead to being able to care better for themselves and others.

Alan Kissell – Menzshed Co-ordinator
Community Corrections

Alan Kissell is the coordinator with Menzshed Waimea who offer basic woodturning, woodwork, model building, electronics, gardening and metalwork skills training as part of Corrections Work and Living Skills programmes for offenders on community work sentences in Richmond.

Helen Black – Sculptor
Invercargill Prison

Helen is a local sculptor who runs a weekly sculpting class. The classes provide the prisoners with the opportunity to work with porcelain and create unique pieces of art from materials that are readily available.

Gayle Adams Counsellor
Christchurch Women’s Prison (CWP)

Gayle Adams has been providing counselling for prisoners at CWP for the past five years, firstly as a student and now as a qualified counsellor. She works with about 10 women a week and is committed to working with women in custody. 

Katie Graham – Counsellor
Otago Corrections Facility

Katie is a psychology student studying for her Masters who has engaged with the most difficult of offenders to help them build skills that will help prepare them for rehabilitation and reintegration.